, Volume 90, Issue 1, pp 57-63
Date: 03 Jul 2014

Formic acid demineralization does not affect the morphometry of cervical zygapophyseal joint meniscoids

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Demineralization can facilitate the dissection of soft tissue structures in inaccessible locations by softening surrounding bone so that it can be easily removed without risking damage to the structure of interest. However, it is unclear whether demineralization alters the morphometry of soft tissues if used for this purpose. We have therefore examined the effect of extended-immersion formic acid demineralization on the size and shape of cervical zygapophyseal joint meniscoids to evaluate its usefulness as a means of facilitating dissection and examination of soft tissue structures from bony regions. Four cadaveric cervical spines were dissected, and three randomly selected zygapophyseal joints from each spine (12 in total) were removed, disarticulated and immersed in 5 % formic acid for 32 days. Each joint was examined using a surgical microscope and photographed, and meniscoid length and surface area measured at days 0, 4, 18, and 32. Measurements were made on magnified digital photographs, and each measurement was repeated three times to determine intra-rater reliability. Data were analyzed using repeated-measures analysis of variance. Significance was set at p < 0.05. There were no significant differences between any of the measures over time for all of the variables assessed (F = 0.302–1.576, p = 0.226–0.759, partial η 2 = 0.029–0.136). For all measurements, intra-rater reliability was high (intra-class correlation > 0.9). These results support the use of formic acid demineralization to facilitate the study of cervical spine meniscoids by dissection, as even after a period of extended immersion in the solution, the morphometry of the structures was not significantly altered. Findings may have implications for dissection studies of other meniscoid-like soft tissue structures that use formic acid demineralization.