T. Pitzen, Fred H. Geisler, Dieter Matthis, Hans Müller-Storz, Wolf-Ingo Steudel

December 2000, Volume 9, Issue 6, pp 571 - 576 Original article Read Full Article 10.1007/s005860000171

First Online: 11 December 2000

A high rate of pseudarthrosis and a high overall rate of implant migration requiring surgical revision has been reported following posterior lumbar interbody fusion using BAK threaded cages. The high rate of both pseudarthrosis and implant migration may be due to poor fixation of the implant. The purpose of this study was to analyse the motion of threaded cages in posterior lumbar interbody fusion. Six cadaveric human lumbar spine segments (three L2/3 and three L4/5 segments) were prepared for biomechanical testing. The segments were tested, without preload, under forces of axial compression (600 N), torsion (25 Nm) and shearing force (250 N). The tests were performed first with the segments in an intact state, and subsequently following instrumented stabilisation with two BAK cages via a posterior approach. These results were compared with those of a finite element model simulating the effects of identical forces on the segments with constructs. As the results were comparable, the finite element model was used for analysing the motion of BAK cages within the disc space. Motion of the implants was not seen in compression. In torsion, a rolling motion was noted, with a range of motion of 10.6° around the central axis of the implant when left/right torsion (25 Nm) was applied. The way the implants move within the segment may be due to their special shape: the thread of the implants can not prevent the BAK cages rolling within the disc space.

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