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Posterior spinal instrumentation and decompression with or without cross-link? Research Article

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CONCLUSION: CL augmentation reduces AR-ROM by 7-12% in single-level instrumentation of the lumbar spine, with the effect increasing along with the extensiveness of the decompression technique. In light of the discrete absolute changes, CL augmentation may be warranted for highly unstable vertebral segments rather than for standard single-level posterior spinal fusion and decompression.
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N Am Spine Soc J. 2021 Nov 17;8:100093. doi: 10.1016/j.xnsj.2021.100093. eCollection 2021 Dec.

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Posterior lumbar instrumentation requires sufficient primary stiffness to ensure bony fusion and to avoid pseudarthrosis, screw loosening, or implant failure. To enhance primary construct stiffness, transverse cross-link (CL) connectors attached to the vertical rods can be used. Their effect on the stability of a spinal instrumentation with simultaneous decompression is yet not clear. This study aimed to evaluate the impact of CL augmentation on single-level lumbar instrumentation stiffness after gradual decompression procedures.

METHODS: Seventeen vertebral segments (6 L1/2, 6 L3/4, 5 L5/S1) of 12 fresh-frozen human cadavers were instrumented with a transpedicular screw-rod construct following the traditional pedicle screw trajectory. Range of motion (ROM) of the segments was sequentially recorded before and after four procedures: (A) instrumented before decompression, (B) instrumented after unilateral laminotomy, (C) instrumented after midline bilateral laminotomy, and (D) instrumented after unilateral facetectomy (with transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion [TLIF]). Each test was performed with and without CL augmentation. The motion between the cranial and caudal vertebrae was evaluated in all six major loading directions: flexion/extension (FE), lateral bending (LB), lateral shear (LS), anterior shear (AS), axial rotation (AR), and axial compression/distraction (AC).

RESULTS: ROM was significantly reduced with CL augmentation in AR by Δ0.03-0.18° (7-12%) with a significantly higher ROM reduction after more extensive decompression. Furthermore, slight reductions in FE and LB were observed; these reached statistical significance for FE after facetectomy and TLIF insertion only (Δ0.15; 3%). The instrumentation levels did not reveal any subgroup differences.

CONCLUSION: CL augmentation reduces AR-ROM by 7-12% in single-level instrumentation of the lumbar spine, with the effect increasing along with the extensiveness of the decompression technique. In light of the discrete absolute changes, CL augmentation may be warranted for highly unstable vertebral segments rather than for standard single-level posterior spinal fusion and decompression.

PMID:35141657 | PMC:PMC8820010 | DOI:10.1016/j.xnsj.2021.100093

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Posterior spinal instrumentation and decompression with or without cross-link?

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N Am Spine Soc J. 2021 Nov 17;8:100093. doi: 10.1016/j.xnsj.2021.100093. eCollection 2021 Dec.ABSTRACTBACKGROUND: Posterior lumbar instrumentation requires sufficient primary stiffness to ensure bony fusion and to avoid pseudarthrosis, screw loosening, or implant failure. To enhance primary construct stiffness, transverse cross-link (CL) connectors attached to the vertical rods can be used. Their effect on the stability…

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