Open Access Research article

Effects of cord pretension and stiffness of the Dynesys system spacer on the biomechanics of spinal decompression- a finite element study

Shih-Liang Shih12, Chien-Lin Liu3, Li-Ying Huang4, Chang-Hung Huang5 and Chen-Sheng Chen6*

  • * Corresponding author: Chen-Sheng Chen cschen@ym.edu.tw

  • † Equal contributors

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Zhong-Xing Branch of Taipei-City Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan

2 Institute of Neuroscience, National Chengchi University, Taipei, Taiwan

3 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Taipei-Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan

4 Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Chang Gung Meorial hospital, Taipei, Taiwan

5 Department of Biomedical Research, Mackay Memorial Hospital, Tamshui Taipei County, Taiwan

6 Department of Physical Therapy and Assistive Technology, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan

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BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2013, 14:191  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-14-191

Published: 19 June 2013

Abstract

Background

The Dynesys system provides stability for destabilized spines while preserving segmental motion. However, clinical studies have demonstrated that the Dynesys system does not prevent adjacent segment disease. Moreover, biomechanical studies have revealed that the stiffness of the Dynesys system is comparable to rigid fixation. Our previous studies showed that adjusting the cord pretension of the Dynesys system alleviates stress on the adjacent level during flexion. We also demonstrated that altering the stiffness of Dynesys system spacers can alleviate stress on the adjacent level during extension of the intact spine. In the present study, we hypothesized that omitting the cord preload and changing the stiffness of the Dynesys system spacers would abate stress shielding on adjacent spinal segments.

Methods

Finite element models were developed for - intact spine (INT), facetectomy and laminectomy at L3-4 (DEC), intact spine with Dynesys system (IntDyWL), decompressed spine with Dynesys system (DecDyWL), decompressed spine with Dynesys system without cord preload (DecDyNL), and decompressed spine with Dynesys system assembled using spacers that were 0.8 times the standard diameter without cord pretension (DecDyNL0.8). These models were subjected to hybrid control for flexion, extension, axial rotation; and lateral bending.

Results

The greatest decreases in range of motion (ROM) at the L3-4 level occurred for axial rotation and lateral bending in the IntDyWL model and for flexion and extension in the DecDyWL model. The greatest decreases in disc stress occurred for extension and lateral bending in the IntDyWL model and for flexion in the DecDyWL model. The greatest decreases in facet contact force occurred for extension and lateral bending in the DecDyNL model and for axial rotation in the DecDyWL model. The greatest increases in ROMs at L2-3 level occurred for flexion, axial rotation and lateral bending in IntDyWL model and for extension in the DecDyNL model. The greatest increases in disc stress occurred for flexion, axial rotation and lateral bending in the IntDyWL model and for extension in the DecDyNL model. The greatest increases in facet contact force occurred for extension and lateral bending in the DecDyNL model and for axial rotation in the IntDyWL model.

Conclusions

The results reveals that removing the Dynesys system cord pretension attenuates the ROMs, disc stress, and facet joint contact forces at adjacent levels during flexion and axial rotation. Removing cord pretension together with softening spacers abates stress shielding for adjacent segment during four different moments, and it provides enough security while not jeopardizes the stability of spine during axial rotation.

Keywords:
Adjacent disc; Decompression; Dynesys; Cord pretension; Spacer; Finite element analysis