Biomechanical comparison of anterior cervical plating and combined anterior/lateral mass plating.
BACKGROUND CONTEXT: Previous studies showed anterior plates of older design to be inadequate for stabilizing the cervical spine in all loading directions. No studies have investigated enhancement in stability obtained by combining anterior and posterior plates. PURPOSE: To determine which modes of loading are stabilized by anterior plating after a cervical burst fracture and to determine whether adding posterior plating further significantly stabilizes the construct. STUDY DESIGN/SETTING: A repeated-measures in vitro biomechanical flexibility experiment was performed to investigate how surgical destabilization and subsequent addition of hardware components alter spinal stability. PATIENT SAMPLE: Six human cadaveric specimens were studied. OUTCOME MEASURES: Angular range of motion (ROM) and neutral zone (NZ) were quantified during flexion, extension, lateral bending, and axial rotation. METHODS: Nonconstraining, nondestructive torques were applied while recording three-dimensional motion optoelectronically. Specimens were tested intact, destabilized by simulated burst fracture with posterior distraction, plated anteriorly with a unicortical locking system, and plated with a combined anterior/posterior construct. RESULTS: The anterior plate significantly (p<.05) reduced the ROM relative to normal in all modes of loading and significantly reduced the NZ in flexion and extension. Addition of the posterior plates further significantly reduced the ROM in all modes of loading and reduced the NZ in lateral bending. CONCLUSIONS: Anterior plating systems are capable of substantially stabilizing the cervical spine in all modes of loading after a burst fracture. The combined approach adds significant stability over anterior plating alone in treating this injury but may be unnecessary clinically. Further study is needed to assess the added clinical benefits of the combined approach and associated risks.
The spine journal : official journal of the North American Spine Society
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Adams, M. S.; Crawford, N. R.; Chamberlain, R. H.; Bse; Sonntag, V. K.; and Dickman, C. A., "Biomechanical comparison of anterior cervical plating and combined anterior/lateral mass plating." (2001). Neurobiology. 854.