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European Spine Journal

, Volume 22, Issue 12, pp 2731–2739 | Cite as

Relation between radiological assessment and biomechanical stability of lumbar interbody fusion in a large animal model

  • R. J. Kroeze
  • A. J. van der Veen
  • B. J. van Royen
  • R. A. Bank
  • M. N. Helder
  • T. H. Smit
Original Article

Abstract

Purpose

To relate the progress of vertebral segmental stability after interbody fusion surgery with radiological assessment of spinal fusion.

Methods

Twenty goats received double-level interbody fusion and were followed for a period of 3, 6 and 12 months. After killing, interbody fusion was assessed radiographically by two independent observers. Subsequently, the lumbar spines were subjected to four-point bending and rotational deformation, assessed with an optoelectronic 3D movement registration system. In addition, four caprine lumbar spines were analysed in both the native situation and after the insertion of a cage device, as to mimic the direct post-surgical situation. The range of motion (ROM) in flexion/extension, lateral bending and axial rotation was analysed ex vivo using a multi-segment testing system.

Results

Significant reduction in ROM in the operated segments was already achieved with moderate bone ingrowth in flexion/extension (71 % reduction in ROM) and with only limited bone ingrowth in lateral bending (71 % reduction in ROM) compared to the post-surgical situation. The presence of a sentinel sign always resulted in a stable vertebral segment in both flexion/extension and lateral bending. For axial rotation, the ROM was already limited in both native and cage inserted situations, resulting in non-significant differences for all radiographic scores.

Discussion

In vivo vertebral segment stability, defined as a significant reduction in ROM, is achieved in an early stage of spinal fusion, well before a radiological bony fusion between the vertebrae can be observed. Therefore, plain radiography underestimates vertebral segment stability.

Keywords

Lumbar spinal fusion Animal model Motion-segment stability Mechanical testing Radiography 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This study was supported by the Dutch Program for Tissue Engineering (DPTE; #BGT 6734). The authors thank Klaas Walter Meijer, Paul Sinnige, Jerry Middelberg and Ger Vink from the animal facilities and Pieter Paul Vergroesen from the orthopaedic surgery department for their assistance during animal surgery and autopsy and Suzanne van Engelen from the Faculty of Human Movement Sciences for her assistance with mechanical testing of the spines.

Conflict of interest

None.

Supplementary material

Supplementary material 1 (MPG 29936 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. J. Kroeze
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
  • A. J. van der Veen
    • 3
    • 5
  • B. J. van Royen
    • 1
    • 5
  • R. A. Bank
    • 4
    • 5
  • M. N. Helder
    • 1
    • 5
  • T. H. Smit
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryVU University Medical CenterAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Oral Cell Biology, Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam (ACTA)Universiteit van Amsterdam and Vrije UniversiteitAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of Physics and Medical TechnologyVU University Medical CenterAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Department of Medical BiologyUniversity Medical Center GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands
  5. 5.MOVE/Skeletal Tissue Engineering Group Amsterdam (STEGA)AmsterdamThe Netherlands

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