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Vol 53, No 5 (2019) Pages : 385- 389

Effectiveness of posterior structures in the development of proximal junctional kyphosis following posterior instrumentation: A biomechanical study in a sheep spine model


Proximal junctional kyphosis – PJK has been defined by a 10 or greater increase in kyphosis at the proximal junction as measured by the Cobb angle from the caudal endplate of the uppermost instrumented vertebrae (UIV) to the cephalad endplate of the vertebrae 1 segments cranial to the UIV. In this biomechanical study, it is aimed to evaluate effects of interspinosus ligament complex distruption and facet joint degeneration on PJK development.
Materials and methods
Posterior instrumentation applied between T2 – T7 vertebrae using pedicle screws to randomly selected 21 sheeps, divided into 3 groups. First group selected as control group (CG), of which posterior soft tissue and facet joints are protected. In second group (spinosus group, SG) interspinosus ligament complex which 1 segment cranial to UIV has been transected, and third group (faset group-FG) was applied facet joint excision. 25 N, 50 N, 100 N, 150 N and 200 N forces applied at frequency of 5 Hertz as 100 cycles axial to the samples. Then, 250 N, 275 N and 300 N forces applied static axially. Interspinosus distance, kyphosis angle and discus heights was measured in radiological evaluation. Abnormal PJK was defined by a proximal junctional angle greater than 100 and at least 100 greater than the corresponding preoperative measurement.
In CG group, average interspinosus distance was 6,6 ± 1.54 mm and kyphosis angle was 2,2 ± 0.46° before biomechanical testing, and they were measured as 9,4 ± 1.21 mm and 3,3 ±0.44° respectively after forces applied to samples. In SG group, average interspinosus distance was 6,2 ± 1.72 mm and kyphosis angle was 2,7 ± 1.01° before experiment, and they were measured as 20,8 ± 5.66 mm and 15,1 ± 2.34° respectively after forces applied to samples. In FG group, average interspinosus distance was 4,8 ± 1.15 mm and kyphosis angle was -1 ± 4.14° before experiment, and they were measured as 11,1 ±1.96mm and 11 ± 2.87° respectively after forces applied to samples. In comparison to group CG, statistically significant junctional kyphosis was seen on both FG and SG group after statistical analysis. (p < 0.05). PJK was seen statistically significant more on SG group than FG group. (p < 0.05). Not any statistically significant difference was seen on measurement of disk distances among three groups. (p > 0.05)
Protecting interspinosus ligament complex and facet joint unity during posterior surgical treatment for spine deformation is vital to prevent PJK development. Based on our literature review, this is the first biomechanical study that reveals interspinosus ligament complex are more effective on preventing PJK development than facet joints.
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Proximal junctional kyphosis Junctional disorders Biomechanic PJK Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis Scheuermann kyphosis