OBJECTIVE To compare the effects of conventional and slanted ventral slot procedures on the biomechanical behavior of the C5-C6 vertebral motion unit (VMU) in dogs.
SAMPLE 14 vertebral columns (C4 through C7) from canine cadavers.
PROCEDURES Specimens were assigned to a conventional or slanted ventral slot group (n = 7/group). For each specimen, the C5-C6 VMU was tested in ventral and dorsal bending and positive and negative axial torsion before and after surgery. Range of motion (ROM), stiffness, and energy absorption were compared between the 2 groups.
RESULTS Both procedures significantly increased the ROM and stiffness and significantly decreased the energy absorption of the C5-C6 VMU in ventral and dorsal bending. Both procedures also increased the ROM in positive and negative axial torsion. In negative torsion, total stiffness and stiffness over the maximum ROM tested decreased less for the slanted slot procedure than for the conventional slot procedure. There were no significant differences between procedures for any of the other biomechanical outcomes examined.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results suggested that the biomechanical response of the C5-C6 VMU to the conventional and slanted ventral slot procedures was not significantly different, especially when considering postsurgical instability induced by both procedures. This was most likely due to disruption of the nucleus pulposus and dorsal annulus fibrosus of the disk with both procedures. On the basis of these findings, neither procedure appeared biomechanically superior. Comparative clinical studies are warranted to further evaluate the 2 procedures.