2023 Volume 7 Issue 3 Pages 276-283
Introduction: Mechanical complications, such as rod fracture (RF) and proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK), commonly occur after adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery. A rigid construct is preferred to prevent RF, whereas it is a risk factor for PJK. This controversial issue urged us to conduct a biomechanical study for seeking the optimal construct to prevent mechanical complications.
Methods: A three-dimensional nonlinear finite element model, which consisted of the lower thoracic and lumbar spine, pelvis, and femur, was created. The model was instrumented with pedicle screws (PSs), S2-alar-iliac screws, lumbar interbody fusion cages, and rods. Rod stress was measured when a forward-bending load was applied at the top of the construct to evaluate the risk of RF in constructs with or without accessory rods (ARs). In addition, fracture analysis around the uppermost instrumented vertebra (UIV) was performed to assess the risk of PJK.
Results: Changing the rod material from titanium alloy (Ti) to cobalt chrome (CoCr) decreased shearing stress at L5-S1 by 11.5%, and adding ARs decreased it by up to 34.3% (for the shortest ARs). Although the trajectory (straightforward vs. anatomical) of PSs did not affect the fracture load for UIV+1, changing the anchor from PSs to hooks at the UIV reduced it by 14.8%. Changing the rod material from Ti to CoCr did not alter the load, whereas the load decreased by up to 25.1% as the AR became longer.
Conclusions: The PSs at the UIV in the lower thoracic spine, CoCr rods as primary rods, and shorter ARs should be used in long fusion for ASD to prevent mechanical complications.