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

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Abstract

Posterior arthrodesis is a preferred treatment for posttraumatic 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 interspinous wiring, 2) Halifax laminar clamps, 3) bilateral 1/3 tubular plates on the lateral masses, using unicortical screws, and 4) bilateral 1/3 tubular plates on the lateral masses, using bicortical screws. Stiffness measurements 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 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
Publication statusPublished - 1988

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Cite this

Gill, K., Paschal, S., Corin, J., Ashman, R., & Bucholz, R. W. (1988). Posterior plating of the cervical spine. A biomechanical comparison of different posterior fusion techniques. Spine, 13(7), 813-816.