Vincent Arlet, Kevin Draxinger, Lorne Beckman, Thomas Steffen


July 2006, Volume 15, Issue 7, pp 1153 - 1158 Ideas and Technical Innovations Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-005-0010-y

First Online: 10 February 2006

Sublaminar wires have been used for many years for segmental spinal instrumentation in scoliosis surgery. More recently, stainless steel wires have been replaced by titanium cables. However, in rigid scoliotic curves, sublaminar wires or simple cables can either brake or pull out. The square-lashing technique was devised to avoid complications such as cable breakage or lamina cutout. The purpose of the study was therefore to test biomechanically the pull out and failure mode of simple sublaminar constructs versus the square-lashing technique. Individual vertebrae were subjected to pullout testing having one of two different constructs (single loop and square lashing) using either monofilament wire or multifilament cables. Four different methods of fixation were therefore tested: single wire construct, square-lashing wiring construct, single cable construct, and square-lashing cable construct. Ultimate failure load and failure mechanism were recorded. For the single wire the construct failed 12/16 times by wire breakage with an average ultimate failure load of 793 N. For the square-lashing wire the construct failed with pedicle fracture in 14/16, one bilateral lamina fracture, and one wire breakage. Ultimate failure load average was 1,239 N For the single cable the construct failed 12/16 times due to cable breakage (average force 1,162 N). 10/12 of these breakages were where the cable looped over the rod. For the square-lashing cable all of these constructs (16/16) failed by fracture of the pedicle with an average ultimate failure load of 1,388 N. The square-lashing construct had a higher pullout strength than the single loop and almost no cutting out from the lamina. The square-lashing technique with cables may therefore represent a new advance in segmental spinal instrumentation.


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