In vitro biomechanical evaluations of screw-bar–polymethylmethacrylate and pin-polymethylmethacrylate internal fixation implants used to stabilize the vertebral motion unit of the fourth and fifth cervical vertebrae in vertebral column specimens from dogs

Daniel G. Hicks Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164.

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Marvin J. Pitts Department of Biological Systems Engineering, College of Engineering and Architecture, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164.

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Rodney S. Bagley Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164.

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Anita Vasavada Department of Veterinary and Comparative Anatomy, Pharmacology and Physiology, College of Veterinary Medicine; and Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering, College of Engineering and Architecture, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164.

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Annie V. Chen Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164.

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Fred A. Wininger Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164.

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Julianna C. Simon Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering, College of Engineering and Architecture, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164.

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Abstract

Objective—To determine the change in stiffness as evaluated by the dorsal bending moment of cervical vertebral specimens obtained from canine cadavers after internally stabilizing the vertebral motion unit (VMU) of C4 and C5 with a traditional pin-polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) fixation implant or a novel screw-bar–PMMA fixation implant.

Sample Population—12 vertebral column specimens (C3 through C6) obtained from canine cadavers.

Procedures—A dorsal bending moment was applied to the vertebral specimens before and after fixation of the VMU of C4 and C5 by use of a traditional pin-PMMA implant or a novel screw-bar–PMMA implant. Biomechanical data were collected and compared within a specimen (unaltered vs treated) and between treatment groups. Additionally, implant placement was evaluated after biomechanical testing to screen for penetration of the transverse foramen or vertebral canal by the pins or screws.

Results—Treated vertebral specimens were significantly stiffer than unaltered specimens. There was no significant difference in stiffness between vertebral specimen groups after treatment. None of the screws in the novel screw-bar–PMMA implant group penetrated the transverse foramen or vertebral canal, whereas there was mild to severe penetration for 22 of 24 (92%) pins in the traditional pin-PMMA implant group.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Both fixation treatments altered the biomechanical properties of the cervical vertebral specimens as evaluated by the dorsal bending moment. There was reduced incidence of penetration of the transverse foramen or vertebral canal with the novel screw-bar–PMMA implant, compared with the incidence for the traditional pin-PMMA implant.

Abstract

Objective—To determine the change in stiffness as evaluated by the dorsal bending moment of cervical vertebral specimens obtained from canine cadavers after internally stabilizing the vertebral motion unit (VMU) of C4 and C5 with a traditional pin-polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) fixation implant or a novel screw-bar–PMMA fixation implant.

Sample Population—12 vertebral column specimens (C3 through C6) obtained from canine cadavers.

Procedures—A dorsal bending moment was applied to the vertebral specimens before and after fixation of the VMU of C4 and C5 by use of a traditional pin-PMMA implant or a novel screw-bar–PMMA implant. Biomechanical data were collected and compared within a specimen (unaltered vs treated) and between treatment groups. Additionally, implant placement was evaluated after biomechanical testing to screen for penetration of the transverse foramen or vertebral canal by the pins or screws.

Results—Treated vertebral specimens were significantly stiffer than unaltered specimens. There was no significant difference in stiffness between vertebral specimen groups after treatment. None of the screws in the novel screw-bar–PMMA implant group penetrated the transverse foramen or vertebral canal, whereas there was mild to severe penetration for 22 of 24 (92%) pins in the traditional pin-PMMA implant group.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Both fixation treatments altered the biomechanical properties of the cervical vertebral specimens as evaluated by the dorsal bending moment. There was reduced incidence of penetration of the transverse foramen or vertebral canal with the novel screw-bar–PMMA implant, compared with the incidence for the traditional pin-PMMA implant.

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