Total disc replacement is a novel approach for dynamically stabilizing a painful intervertebral segment. While this approach is gaining popularity, and several types of implants are used, the effect of disc arthroplasty on lumbar biomechanics has not been widely reported. Consequently, beneficial or adverse effects of this procedure may not be fully realized, and data for kinematic optimization are unavailable.To characterize kinematic and load transfer modifications at L5/S1 secondary to joint replacement.A human cadaveric biomechanical study in which the facet forces and instant axes of rotation (IAR) were measured for different spinal positions under simulated weightbearing conditions before and after total disc replacement at L5/S1 using semiconstrained (3 degrees of freedom [DOF]; Prodisc) and unconstrained (5 DOF; Charité) articulated implants.Twelve radiographically normal human cadaveric L5/S1 joints (age range 45-64 years) were tested before and after disc replacement using Prodisc II implants (Spine Solutions, Paoli, PA) in six specimens and SB Charité III (Johnson & Johnson, New Brunswick, NJ) in six other specimens. Semiconstrained fixtures in combination with a servo-hydraulic materials testing system subjected the test specimens to a physiologic combination of compression and anterior shear. Multiple intervertebral positions were studied and included up to 6 degrees of flexion, extension, and lateral bending. The IAR was calculated for every 3-degree intervals, and the force through the facet joints was simultaneously measured using flexible intra-articular sensors. Data were analyzed using repeated-measures analysis of variance.During flexion/extension, the average IAR positions and directions were not significantly modified by implantation with the exception that the IAR was higher relative to S1 end plate with the Charité (p=.028). The IAR had a vertically oriented centrode throughout flexion/extension with the Prodisc (p<.001) and the Charité (p<.016). The centrode tended to be greater with the Prodisc. There was a trend that the facet force was decreased throughout flexion/extension for the Prodisc; however, this was statistically significant only at 6 degrees extension (27%, p=.013). In lateral bending, the IAR was significantly modified by Prodisc replacement, with a decreased inclination relative to S1 end plate, (ie, increased coupled axial rotation). While the IAR moved in the horizontal plane toward the side of bending, this effect was more pronounced with the Prodisc. The ipsilateral facet force was significantly increased in 6 degrees lateral bending with the Charité (85%; p=.001).The degree of constraint affects post-implantation kinematics and load transfer. With the Prodisc (3 DOF), the facets were partially unloaded, though the IAR did not match the fixed geometrical center of the UHMWPE. The latter observation suggests joint surface incongruence is developed during movement. With the Charité (5 DOF), the IAR was less variable, yet the facet forces tended to increase, particularly during lateral bending. These results highlight the important role the facets play in guiding movement, and that implant constraint influences facet/implant synergy. The long-term consequences of the differing kinematics on clinically important outcomes such as wear and facet arthritis have yet to be determined.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.spinee.2005.07.004
View details for PubMedID 16651219