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Biomechanical comparision of the stable efficacy of two anterior plating systems

      Abstract

      Objective. To compare the immediate stable efficacy and load sharing effect of two types of anterior cervical screw-plating instrumentations: the Morscher Synthes titanium locking screw-plate system and the Caspar trapezoidal screw-plate system.
      Design. Fresh porcine cervical spines with intact, two surgery unstable models, and then reconstructed with or without screw-plating instruments were compared in three physiological loading conditions.
      Background. Two markedly instrumentation systems––Morscher Synthes titanium cervical locking screw-plate and Caspar trapezoidal screw-plate systems are commonly used in management of complex cervical spine disorders. Although the biomechanical study showed that the lower cost Caspar system performed superior in extension before and after plate fatigue, the clinic evaluations of two systems were contradictory. So (1) does the titanium cervical locking plate system pay for its higher cost? and (2) what is the load sharing character of strut graft in one level corpectomy?
      Methods. Eight fresh ligamentous porcine cervical spines from C3 to C7 were undergone axial compression, rotation and sagittal flexion tests. The biomechanical experiment was sequentially repeated for the intact, C5-6 discectomy, C5 corpectomy, and then stabilized by either type of plate fixation devices with or without polymethylmethacrylate bone cement grafting. Strains measured by an extensometer across the operated motion segment were used as the index of stability.
      Results. Analysis of the strain data showed both types of anterior fixation plate systems provided adequate-restored stability for the spinal column only aided with polymethylmethacrylate construction. Statistically, there was no significant difference in biomechanical evaluation for the stability effect between much cost Morscher Synthes plate and Caspar plate system (p<0.005). The spinal disc bore as much as 75% of axial loading. While the strut graft functioned as the disc substitute and spacer, it bore more than 90% of axial loading. In high degree of flexion, the transmitted compressive load was shifted anteriorly to the screw-plate. This might unload the polymethylmethacrylate graft and resulted in the strut graft in tensile fatigue failure.
      Conclusions. Statistically both systems showed similar stable efficacy, however, the Morscher Synthes cervical locking plate system might provide better stable effect in higher degrees of flexion motion. The strut graft played as the major load-bearing role in axial compression and sagittal flexion, while in axial rotation, the applied torque was mainly resisted by facet joint and screw-plate system complex.Relevance
      The minor discrepancy of two plating systems may be due to the nature of plate geometry and design but not the material properties. Combination of bone graft and either plating systems provides adequate fusion stability under physiological loadings. The high degree flexion may cause the posterior portion of polymethylmethacrylate graft in tensile fracture and then result in polymethylmethacrylate failure in clinic observation.

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