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Biomechanics of Artificial Disc Replacements Adjacent to a 2-Level Fusion in 4-Level Hybrid Constructs: An In Vitro Investigation

Zhenhua Liao, Guy R. Fogel, Na Wei, Hongsheng Gu, Weiqiang Liu

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2015; 21:4006-4014

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.896274

Available online:

Published: 2015-12-23

BACKGROUND: The ideal procedure for multilevel cervical degenerative disc diseases remains controversial. Recent studies on hybrid surgery combining anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) and artificial cervical disc replacement (ACDR) for 2-level and 3-level constructs have been reported in the literature. The purpose of this study was to estimate the biomechanics of 3 kinds of 4-level hybrid constructs, which are more likely to be used clinically compared to 4-level arthrodesis.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Eighteen human cadaveric spines (C2–T1) were evaluated in different testing conditions: intact, with 3 kinds of 4-level hybrid constructs (hybrid C3–4 ACDR+C4–6 ACDF+C6–7ACDR; hybrid C3–5ACDF+C5–6ACDR+C6–7ACDR; hybrid C3–4ACDR+C4–5ACDR+C5–7ACDF); and 4-level fusion.
RESULTS: Four-level fusion resulted in significant decrease in the C3–C7 ROM compared with the intact spine. The 3 different 4-level hybrid treatment groups caused only slight change at the instrumented levels compared to intact except for flexion. At the adjacent levels, 4-level fusion resulted in significant increase of contribution of both upper and lower adjacent levels. However, for the 3 hybrid constructs, significant changes of motion increase far lower than 4P at adjacent levels were only noted in partial loading conditions. No destabilizing effect or hypermobility were observed in any 4-level hybrid construct.
CONCLUSIONS: Four-level fusion significantly eliminated motion within the construct and increased motion at the adjacent segments. For all 3 different 4-level hybrid constructs, ACDR normalized motion of the index segment and adjacent segments with no significant hypermobility. Compared with the 4-level ACDF condition, the artificial discs in 4-level hybrid constructs had biomechanical advantages compared to fusion in normalizing adjacent level motion.

Keywords: Biomechanical Phenomena, Adult, Adolescent, Cervical Vertebrae, In Vitro Techniques, Range of Motion, Articular