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Biomechanical comparison of unilateral and bilateral pedicle screws fixation for transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion after decompressive surgery -- a finite element analysis

DOI: 10.1186/1471-2474-13-72

Keywords: Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion, Pedicle screw fixation, Contralateral facet screw, Finite element analysis

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A validated finite-element (FE) model of L1-S1 was established to implant three types of cages (TLIF with a single moon-shaped cage in the anterior or middle portion of vertebral bodies, and TLIF with a left diagonally placed ogival-shaped cage) from the left L4-5 level after unilateral decompressive surgery. Further, the effects of unilateral versus bilateral pedicle screw fixation (UPSF vs. BPSF) in each TLIF cage model was compared to analyze parameters, including stresses and ROM on the neighboring annulus, cage-vertebral interface and pedicle screws.All the TLIF cages positioned with BPSF showed similar ROM (<5%) at surgical and adjacent levels, except TLIF with an anterior cage in flexion (61% lower) and TLIF with a left diagonal cage in left lateral bending (33% lower) at surgical level. On the other hand, the TLIF cage models with left UPSF showed varying changes of ROM and annulus stress in extension, right lateral bending and right axial rotation at surgical level. In particular, the TLIF model with a diagonal cage, UPSF, and contralateral facet screw fixation stabilize segmental motion of the surgical level mostly in extension and contralaterally axial rotation. Prominent stress shielded to the contralateral annulus, cage-vertebral interface, and pedicle screw at surgical level. A supplementary facet screw fixation shared stresses around the neighboring tissues and revealed similar ROM and stress patterns to those models with BPSF.TLIF surgery is not favored for asymmetrical positioning of a diagonal cage and UPSF used in contralateral axial rotation or lateral bending. Supplementation of a contralateral facet screw is recommended for the TLIF construct.


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