Biomechanical Analysis Comparing Three C1-C2 Transarticular Screw Salvaging Fixation Techniques

Engineering Center for Orthopaedic Research Excellence, Department of Bioengineering, College of Engineering, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH, USA.
Spine (Impact Factor: 2.45). 02/2010; 35(4):378-85. DOI: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e3181bc9cb5
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This is an in vitro biomechanical study.
To compare the biomechanical stability of the 3 C1-C2 transarticular screw salvaging fixation techniques.
Stabilization of the atlantoaxial complex is a challenging procedure because of its complicated anatomy. Many posterior stabilization techniques of the atlantoaxial complex have been developed with C1-C2 transarticular screw fixation been the current gold standard. The drawback of using the transarticular screws is that it has a potential risk of vertebral artery injury due to a high riding transverse foramen of C2 vertebra, and screw malposition. In such cases, it is not recommended to proceed with inserting the contralateral transarticular screw and the surgeon should find an alternative to fix the contralateral side. Many studies are available comparing different atlantoaxial stabilization techniques, but none of them compared the techniques to fix the contralateral side while using the transarticular screw on one side. The current options are C1 lateral mass screw and short C2 pedicle screw or C1 lateral mass screw and C2 intralaminar screw, or C1-C2 sublaminar wire.
Nine fresh human cervical spines with intact ligaments (C0-C4) were subjected to pure moments in the 6 loading directions. The resulting spatial orientations of the vertebrae were recorded using an Optotrak 3-dimensional Motion Measurement System. Measurements were made sequentially for the intact spine after creating type II odontoid fracture and after stabilization with unilateral transarticular screw placement across C1-C2 (TS) supplemented with 1 of the 3 transarticular salvaging techniques on the contralateral side; C1 lateral mass screw and C2 pedicle screw (TS+C1LMS+C2PS), C1 lateral mass and C2 intralaminar screw (TS+C1LMS+C2ILS), or sublaminar wire (TS + wire).
The data indicated that all the 3 stabilization techniques significantly decreased motion when compared to intact in all the loading cases (left/right lateral bending, left/right axial rotation, flexion) except extension. All the 3 instrumented specimens were equally stable in extension/flexion and lateral bending modes. TS+C1LMS+C2PS was equivalent to TS+C1LMS+C2ILS (P > 0.05) and superior to TS + wire in axial rotation (P < 0.05). Also, TS+C1LMS+C2ILS was superior to TS + wire in axial rotation (P < 0.05).
Fixation of atlantoaxial complex using unilateral transarticular screw supplemented with contralateral C1 lateral mass and C2 intralaminar screws is biomechanically equivalent to C1 lateral mass and C2 pedicle screws and both are biomechanically superior to C1-C2 sublaminar wire in axial rotation.

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    ABSTRACT: OBJECT The unique and complex biomechanics of the atlantoaxial junction make the treatment of C1-2 instability a challenge. Several screw-based constructs have been developed for atlantoaxial fixation. The biomechanical properties of these constructs have been assessed in numerous cadaver studies. The purpose of this study was to systematically review the literature on the biomechanical stability achieved using various C1-2 screw constructs and to perform a meta-analysis of the available data. METHODS A systematic search of PubMed through July 1, 2013, was conducted using the following key words and Boolean operators: "atlanto [all fields]" AND "axial [all fields]" OR "C1-C2" AND "biomechanic." Cadaveric studies on atlantoaxial fixation using screw constructs were included. Data were collected on instability models, fixation techniques, and range of motion (ROM). Forest plots were constructed to summarize the data and compare the biomechanical stability achieved. RESULTS Fifteen articles met the inclusion criteria. An average (± SD) of 7.4 ± 1.8 cadaveric specimens were used in each study (range 5-12). The most common injury models were odontoidectomy (53.3%) and cervical ligament transection (26.7%). The most common spinal motion segments potted for motion analysis were occiput-C4 (46.7%) and occiput-C3 (33.3%). Four screw constructs (C1 lateral mass-C2 pedicle screw [C1LM-C2PS], C1-2 transarticular screw [C1-C2TA], C1 lateral mass-C2 translaminar screw [C1LM-C2TL], and C1 lateral mass-C2 pars screw [C1LM-C2 pars]) were assessed for biomechanical stability in axial rotation, flexion/extension, and lateral bending, for a total of 12 analyses. The C1LM-C2TL construct did not achieve significant lateral bending stabilization (p = 0.70). All the other analyses showed significant stabilization (p < 0.001 for each analysis). Significant heterogeneity was found among the reported stabilities achieved in the analyses (p < 0.001; I(2) > 80% for all significant analyses). The C1LM-C2 pars construct achieved significantly less axial rotation stability (average ROM 36.27° [95% CI 34.22°-38.33°]) than the 3 other constructs (p < 0.001; C1LM-C2PS average ROM 49.26° [95% CI 47.66°-50.87°], C1-C2TA average ROM 47.63° [95% CI 45.22°-50.04°], and C1LM-C2TL average ROM 53.26° [95% CI 49.91°-56.61°]) and significantly more flexion/extension stability (average ROM 13.45° [95% CI 10.53°-16.37°]) than the 3 other constructs (p < 0.001; C1LM-C2PS average ROM 9.02° [95% CI 8.25°-9.80°], C1-C2TA average ROM 7.39° [95% CI 5.60°-9.17°], and C1LM-C2TL average ROM 7.81° [95% CI 6.93°-8.69°]). The C1-C2TA (average ROM 5.49° [95% CI 3.89°-7.09°]) and C1LM-C2 pars (average ROM 4.21° [95% CI 2.19°-6.24°]) constructs achieved significantly more lateral bending stability than the other constructs (p < 0.001; C1LM-C2PS average ROM 1.51° [95% CI 1.23°-1.78°]; C1LM-C2TL average ROM -0.07° [95% CI -0.44° to 0.29°]). CONCLUSIONS Meta-analysis of the existing literature showed that all constructs provided significant stabilization in all axes of rotation, except for the C1LM-C2TL construct in lateral bending. There were significant differences in stabilization achieved in each axis of motion by the various screw constructs. These results underline the various strengths and weaknesses in biomechanical stabilization of different screw constructs. There was significant heterogeneity in the data reported across the studies. Standardized spinal motion segment configuration and injury models may provide more consistent and reliable results.
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