Philippe Gédet, Daniel Haschtmann, Paul A. Thistlethwaite, Stephen J. Ferguson

September 2009, Volume 18, Issue 10, pp 1504 - 1511 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-009-1077-7

First Online: 30 June 2009

The goal of non-fusion stabilization is to reduce the mobility of the spine segment to less than that of the intact spine specimen, while retaining some residual motion. Several in vitro studies have been conducted on a dynamic system currently available for clinical use (Dynesys®). Under pure moment loading, a dependency of the biomechanical performance on spacer length has been demonstrated; this variability in implant properties is removed with a modular concept incorporating a discrete flexible element. An in vitro study was performed to compare the kinematic and stabilizing properties of a modular dynamic lumbar stabilization system with those of Dynesys, under the influence of an axial preload. Six human cadaver spine specimens (L1–S1) were tested in a spine loading apparatus. Flexibility measurements were performed by applying pure bending moments of 8 Nm, about each of the three principal anatomical axes, with a simultaneously applied axial preload of 400 N. Specimens were tested intact, and following creation of a defect at L3–L4, with the Dynesys implant, with the modular implant and, after removal of the hardware, the injury state. Segmental range of motion (ROM) was reduced for flexion–extension and lateral bending with both implants. Motion in flexion was reduced to less than 20% of the intact level, in extension to approximately 40% and in lateral bending a motion reduction to less than 40% was measured. In torsion, the total ROM was not significantly different from that of the intact level. The expectations for a flexible posterior stabilizing implant are not fulfilled. The assumption that a device which is particularly compliant in bending allows substantial intersegmental motion cannot be fully supported when one considers that such devices are placed at a location far removed from the natural rotation center of the intervertebral joint.

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