Loading effects of anterior cervical spine fusion on adjacent segments

Chien Shiung Wang, Jia Hao Chang, Ti Sheng Chang, Hung Yi Chen, Ching Wei Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Adjacent segment degeneration typically follows anterior cervical spine fusion. However, the primary cause of adjacent segment degeneration remains unknown. Therefore, in order to identify the loading effects that cause adjacent segment degeneration, this study examined the loading effects to superior segments adjacent to fused bone following anterior cervical spine fusion. The C3-C6 cervical spine segments of 12 sheep were examined. Specimens were divided into the following groups: intact spine (group 1); and C5-C6 segments that were fused via cage-instrumented plate fixation (group 2). Specimens were cycled between 20° flexion and 15° extension with a displacement control of 1°/second. The tested parameters included the range of motion (ROM) of each segment, torque and strain on both the body and inferior articular process at the superior segments (C3-C4) adjacent to the fused bone, and the position of the neutral axis of stress at under 20° flexion and 15° extension. Under flexion and Group 2, torque, ROM, and strain on both the bodies and facets of superior segments adjacent to the fused bone were higher than those of Group 1. Under extension and Group 2, ROM for the fused segment was less than that of Group 1; torque, ROM, and stress on both the bodies and facets of superior segments adjacent to the fused bone were higher than those of Group 1. These analytical results indicate that the muscles and ligaments require greater force to achieve cervical motion than the intact spine following anterior cervical spine fusion. In addition, ROM and stress on the bodies and facets of the joint segments adjacent to the fused bone were significantly increased. Under flexion, the neutral axis of the stress on the adjacent segment moved backward, and the stress on the bodies of the segments adjacent to the fused bone increased. These comparative results indicate that increased stress on the adjacent segments is caused by stress-shielding effects. Furthermore, increased stress and ROM of the adjacent segments after long-term bone fusion may accelerate degeneration in adjacent segment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)586-594
Number of pages9
JournalKaohsiung Journal of Medical Sciences
Volume28
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Nov 1

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Keywords

  • Anterior plate fixation
  • Biomechanics
  • Neutral axis
  • Range of motion
  • Strain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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