To evaluate intradiskal pressure (IDP) in the C6-7 intervertebral disk (IVD) after destabilization and distraction-fusion of the C5-C6 vertebrae.
7 cadaveric C4-T1 vertebral specimens with no evidence of IVD disease from large-breed dogs.
Specimens were mounted in a custom-made 6 degrees of freedom spinal loading simulator so the C5-C6 and C6-C7 segments remained mobile. One specimen remained untreated and was used to assess the repeatability of the IDP measurement protocol. Six specimens underwent 3 sequential configurations (untreated, partial diskectomy of the C5-6 IVD, and distraction-fusion of the C5-C6 vertebrae). Each construct was biomechanically tested under neutral, flexion, extension, and right-lateral bending loads. The IDP was measured with a pressure transducer inserted into the C6-7 IVD and compared between the nucleus pulposus and annulus fibrosus and across all 3 constructs and 4 loads.
Compared with untreated constructs, partial diskectomy and distraction-fusion of C5-C6 decreased the mean ± SD IDP in the C6-7 IVD by 1.3 ± 1.3% and 0.8 ± 1.3%, respectively. During motion, the IDP remained fairly constant in the annulus fibrosus and increased by 3.8 ± 3.0% in the nucleus pulposus. The increase in IDP within the nucleus pulposus was numerically greatest during flexion but did not differ significantly among loading conditions.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE
Distraction-fusion of C5-C6 did not significantly alter the IDP of healthy C6-7 IVDs. Effects of vertebral distraction-fusion on the IDP of adjacent IVDs with degenerative changes, such as those in dogs with caudal cervical spondylomyelopathy, warrant investigation.