How does a novel knitted titanium nucleus prosthesis change the kinematics of a cervical spine segment? A biomechanical cadaveric study


      • A new nucleus prosthesis made of knitted titanium filaments was tested in human cervical spine specimens (C4-7)
      • The RoM (C4-7) were evaluated before and after implantation as well as after cyclic loading of the specimens
      • The RoM didn’t show significant differences after implantation and cyclic loading compared to the native state
      • No implant migration could be observed during the testing



      Total disc replacement is a possible treatment alternative for patients with degenerative disc disease, especially in the cervical spine. The aim is to restore the physiological flexibility and biomechanical behavior. A new approach based on these requirements is the novel nucleus prosthesis made of knitted titanium wires.


      The biomechanical functionalities of eight human cervical (C4-C7) spine segments were investigated. The range of motion was quantified using an ultra-sound based motion analysis system. Moreover, X-rays in full flexion and extension of the segment were taken to define the center of rotation before and after implantation of the nucleus prosthesis as well as during and after complex cyclic loading.


      The mean range of motion of the index segment (C5/6) in flexion/extension showed a significant reduction of range of motion from 9.7° (SD 4.33) to 6.0° (SD 3.97) after implantation (P = 0.037). Lateral bending and axial rotation were not significantly reduced after implanting and during cyclic loading in our testing. During cyclic loading the mean range of motion for flexion/extension increased to 7.2° (SD 3.67). The center of rotation remained physiological in the ap-plane and moved cranially in the cc-plane (−27% to −5% in cc height) during the testing.


      The biomechanical behavior of the nucleus implant might lower the risk for adjacent joint disorders and restore native function of the index segment. Further in vivo research is needed for other factors, like long-term effects and patient's satisfaction.


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