Christian H. Flamme, Nadine von der Heide, Caroline Heymann, Christof Hurschler

August 2005, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp 807 - 818 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-005-0993-4

First Online: 10 August 2005

This is a comparative in vitro biomechanical study of the primary stability of an anterior lumbar interbody stabilization. The objective was to compare the stability of a interbody stabilizing titanium cage with and without the retention of the bordering vertebral endplates, as well as to compare the titanium cage with a tricalcium phosphate block when the endplates are removed. An adequate blood supply is critical for interbody fusion, which suggests surgical treatment of the bordering endplates. On the other hand, primary stability is improved by the retention of the endplates. Furthermore, bone substitute materials are finding more frequent use due to complications associated with autologous bone grafts. Ten bovine lumbar spine motion segments (average age 6 months) were investigated. Pure bending loadings as well as eccentric axial compression loadings were applied. A titanium cage and tricalcium phosphate block, were tested in conjunction with an anterior augmentation (MACS). Range of motion, neutral zone (NZ) and bending stiffness were measured under pure bending to 10 Nm, and bending stiffness under axial loads of up to 1500 N. Range of motion of both implants in flexion-extension was significantly smaller than physiologic (cage without endplates 4.3°, cage with 2.8°, block without 3.4°, and physiologic 6.6°, all p<0.001). The cage with endplates and the block without endplates were both significantly stiffer than physiologic in all directions except left lateral bending. The block without endplates and the cage with endplates were both stiffer than the cage without endplates. The results suggest that the use of the bone substitute block provides better stability than the cage when the endplates are removed.

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