Posterior plating of the cervical spine: A biomechanical comparison of different posterior fusion techniques

K. Gill, S. Paschal, J. Corin, R. Ashman, R. W. Bucholz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

102 Scopus citations

Abstract

Posterior arthrodesis is a preferred treatment for post- traumatic instability of the cervical spine. While most surgical constructs yield predictably high rates of fusion in satisfactory alignment, certain injury patterns involving fractures of the lamina or spinous processes may preclude rigid Immobilization by simple wiring techniques. Plate fixation of the posterolateral masses has been advocated for such injuries. The purpose of this biomechanical study was to test the relative stiffness provided by different posterior fusion constructs, including lateral mass plating. All testing was performed on fresh, unembalmed cadaveric spines divided into two vertebral segment units. Muscular tissue was stripped from the specimens, but all discal and ligamentous structures were preserved. Four different posterior fixation constructs were tested. These included 1) Rogers inter- spinous wiring, 2) Halifax laminar clamps, 3) bilateral 1/3 tubular plates on the lateral masses, using unicor- tical screws, and 4) bilateral 1/3 tubular plates on the lateral masses, using bicortical screws. Stiffness mea-surements were taken in both flexion and extension on all specimens. Yield strength and fatigue strength of the spines were not measured. It was found that 1/3 tubular plates secured with bicortical screws to the lateral masses provided the highest mean stiffness. Less stiffness was found in spines stabilized by Halifax clamps, interspinous wiring, and plates secured with unicortical screws. There was, however, no statistically significant difference in stiffness provided by any of these four implants. It was concluded that there is no advantage in plate fixation over standard fusion constructs in augmenting the stiffness of posterior fixation of the cervical spine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)813-816
Number of pages4
JournalSpine
Volume13
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1988

Keywords

  • Internal fixation devices
  • Mechanical testing
  • Posterior cervical fusion
  • Stiffness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology

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