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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Effectiveness of transfixation and length of instrumentation on titanium and stainless steel transpedicular spine implants.

This study compares the effectiveness of transfixation on the stiffness of two pedicle screw-rod constructs of different manufacture, implant design, and alloy, applied in one-and two-level instability. Four screws composed of either stainless steel or Titanium were assembled in pairs to two polymethylmethacrylate blocks to resemble one-and two-level corpectomy models and the construct underwent nondestructive torsional, extension, and flexion loading. In every loading test, each construct was tested using stainless steel or titanium rods of 4.9-mm diameter in two different lengths (short, 10 cm; long, 15 cm), not augmented or augmented with different transfixation devices or a pair of devices. The authors compared the stiffness of stainless steel and titanium constructs without cross-link with the stiffness of that reinforced with single or double Texas Scottish Rite Hospital (TSRH) cross-link, closed new-type cross-link (closed NTC), or open new-type cross-link (open NTC). The results showed that augmentation or no augmentation of short rods conferred significantly more stiffness than that of long rods of the same material in all three loading modes. The closed NTC provided the greatest increase of torsional, extension, and flexion stiffness, and single TSRH provided the least amount of stiffness. Torsional stiffness of short stainless steel rods augmented or not augmented was significantly greater than that of their titanium counterparts. Torsional stiffness of long titanium rods was always greater than that of their stainless steel counterparts. Extension stiffness of short nonaugmented titanium rods was superior to that of long titanium rods, whereas extension stiffness of nonaugmented short and long stainless steel rods was similar. Nonaugmented short titanium rods showed greater flexion stiffness than that of long titanium rods. Long stainless steel rods displayed significantly greater flexion stiffness than did their titanium counterparts. This nondestructive study showed that cross-links increase the torsional stiffness significantly but less so the flexion and extension stiffness of both titanium and stainless steel posterior transpedicular constructs. This increase was proportional to the cross-sectional diameter of the cross-link. Titanium constructs showed more torsional stiffness when used in two-level instability and steel showed more torsional stiffness in one-level instability, particularly when they are reinforced. Stainless steel constructs showed greater flexion stiffness when they were used in two-level and titanium showed greater flexion stiffness in one-level instability, particularly when they were reinforced with stiff cross-links. The effect of transfixation on extension forces was obvious when thick cross-links were used.[1]


  1. Effectiveness of transfixation and length of instrumentation on titanium and stainless steel transpedicular spine implants. Korovessis, P., Baikousis, A., Deligianni, D., Mysirlis, Y., Soucacos, P. Journal of spinal disorders. (2001) [Pubmed]
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