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Abstract

Objective—To conduct an in vitro investigation of the biomechanical characteristics of the canine lumbar spinal column in flexion and extension and measure the destabilizing effects of multiple consecutive unilateral and bilateral hemilaminectomies.

Sample Population—30 isolated multisegmental spinal units (L1-L4) from nonhypochondroplastic dogs weighing 15 to 30 kg.

Procedure—Physically normal and surgically altered spinal specimens were subjected to 4-point bending in flexion and extension to determine effects of multiple consecutive hemilaminectomies on the basis of analysis of test system load-displacement data. Six groups with 5 spinal columns in each were defined on the basis of the following procedures: hemilaminectomy at L2-L3, 2 adjacent hemilaminectomies at L1- L3, 3 adjacent hemilaminectomies at L1-L4, bilateral hemilaminectomies at L2-L3, 2 bilateral hemilaminectomies at L1-L3, and no hemilaminectomy (intact). Spinal stability before and after surgery was determined in all groups. Each group served as its own control for nondestructive testing. Spinal strength was evaluated through destructive testing to determine deformation at failure, strength to failure, and mode of catastrophic failure. The intact group served as the control for destructive testing.

Results—Stability in extreme flexion and extreme extension did not change significantly following any hemilaminectomy procedure. Postoperative stability within the neutral zone was significantly decreased in all groups. Range of motion within the neutral zone was not significantly different from the intact condition in any group.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Multiple hemilaminectomies did not decrease stiffness of the lumbar spinal column during flexion and extension. These results support clinical recommendations regarding multiple consecutive hemilaminectomies in dogs. (Am J Vet Res 2003;64:1139–1145)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research