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Biomechanical effects of transverse connectors on total en bloc spondylectomy of the lumbar spine: a finite element analysis – Published Article

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This article discusses a study conducted to investigate the biomechanical effects of a transverse connector (TC) on total en bloc spondylectomy (TES) of the lumbar spine. TES is known to have a substantial influence on spinal stability, and strong fixation is required to restore stability. While previous studies have suggested that a TC can enhance the stability of fixed segments, conflicting results have also indicated that it may promote stress associated with internal fixation. The study used a finite element model to simulate TES and compared the biomechanics of the pedicle screw-rod system, titanium cage, and adjacent endplates with and without a TC. The results showed that the TC had minimal effect on the stability of fixed segments but increased stress concentration within the internal fixation devices. Therefore, the routine use of a TC in TES is deemed unnecessary

Summarised by Mr Mo Akmal – Lead Spinal Surgeon
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Published article

CONCLUSION: The use of a TC in TES does not improve the stability of the fixed segments and instead might result in increased stress concentration within the internal fixation devices. Based on these findings, the routine utilisation of TC in TES is deemed unnecessary.

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J Orthop Surg Res. 2023 Jul 5;18(1):484. doi: 10.1186/s13018-023-03977-1.ABSTRACTBACKGROUND: The influence of total en bloc spondylectomy (TES) on spinal stability is substantial, necessitating strong fixation to restore spinal stability. The transverse connector (TC) serves as a posterior spinal instrumentation that connects the left and right sides of the pedicle screw-rod system. Several studies have highlighted,

J Orthop Surg Res. 2023 Jul 5;18(1):484. doi: 10.1186/s13018-023-03977-1.

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The influence of total en bloc spondylectomy (TES) on spinal stability is substantial, necessitating strong fixation to restore spinal stability. The transverse connector (TC) serves as a posterior spinal instrumentation that connects the left and right sides of the pedicle screw-rod system. Several studies have highlighted the potential of a TC in enhancing the stability of the fixed segments. However, contradictory results have suggested that a TC not only fails to improve the stability of the fixed segments but also might promote stress associated with internal fixation. To date, there is a lack of previous research investigating the biomechanical effects of a TC on TES. This study aimed to investigate the biomechanical effects of a TC on internal fixation during TES of the lumbar (L) spine.

METHODS: A single-segment (L3 segment) TES was simulated using a comprehensive L spine finite element model. Five models were constructed based on the various positions of the TC, namely the intact model (L1-sacrum), the TES model without a TC, the TES model with a TC at L1-2, the TES model with a TC at L2-4, and the TES model with a TC at L4-5. Mechanical analysis of these distinct models was conducted using the Abaqus software to assess the variations in the biomechanics of the pedicle screw-rod system, titanium cage, and adjacent endplates.

RESULTS: The stability of the surgical segments was found to be satisfactory across all models. Compared with the complete model, the internal fixation device exhibited the greatest constraint on overextension (95.2-95.6%), while showing the least limitation on left/right rotation (53.62-55.64%). The application of the TC had minimal effect on the stability of the fixed segments, resulting in a maximum reduction in segment mobility of 0.11° and a variation range of 3.29%. Regardless of the use of a TC, no significant changes in stress were observed for the titanium cage. In the model without the TC, the maximum von Mises stress (VMS) for the pedicle screw-rod system reached 136.9 MPa during anterior flexion. Upon the addition of a TC, the maximum VMS of the pedicle screw-rod system increased to varying degrees. The highest recorded VMS was 459.3 MPa, indicating a stress increase of 335.5%. Following the TC implantation, the stress on the adjacent endplate exhibited a partial reduction, with the maximum stress reduced by 27.6%.

CONCLUSION: The use of a TC in TES does not improve the stability of the fixed segments and instead might result in increased stress concentration within the internal fixation devices. Based on these findings, the routine utilisation of TC in TES is deemed unnecessary.

PMID:37408002 | PMC:PMC10324273 | DOI:10.1186/s13018-023-03977-1

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Biomechanical effects of transverse connectors on total en bloc spondylectomy of the lumbar spine: a finite element analysis

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J Orthop Surg Res. 2023 Jul 5;18(1):484. doi: 10.1186/s13018-023-03977-1.ABSTRACTBACKGROUND: The influence of total en bloc spondylectomy (TES) on spinal stability is substantial, necessitating strong fixation to restore spinal stability. The transverse connector (TC) serves as a posterior spinal instrumentation that connects the left and right sides of the pedicle screw-rod system. Several studies have highlighted

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