The biomechanical effects of thoracic spine stapling

Shillington, Mark, Adam, Clayton J., Labrom, Robert D., & Askin, Geoffrey N. (2008) The biomechanical effects of thoracic spine stapling. In Williamson, Owen (Ed.) Annual Scientific Meeting of the Spine Society of Australia 2008, 18-20 April 2008, Adelaide, Australia.

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The use of anterior vertebral staples in the fusionless correction of scoliosis has received increased attention in recent literature. Several animal studies have shown stapling to be effective in modulating vertebral growth. In 2005 Betz (1) published the only clinical series to date.

Despite the increasing volume of literature suggesting the efficacy of this treatment, little is known about it's biomechanical consequences. In 2007 Puttlitz (2) measured the change in spinal range of motion after staple insertion in a bovine model. They found a small but statistically significant decrease in range of motion in axial rotation and lateral bending. The clinical significance of this is questionable as the differences were only a few degrees over three vertebral levels. A well designed biomechanical evaluation of the effects of staple insertion on spinal stability is needed. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of insertion of a laterally placed anterior vertebral staple on the stiffness characteristics of a single motion segment. These results suggest that staple insertion consistently decreased stiffness in all directions of motion. This is contrary to the results of Puttlitz (2), which reported a reduced range of motion (i.e. increased stiffness) for some motions using moment-controlled testing. This decrease in stiffness could not be explained by changes in anatomy or tissue properties between specimens, as each stapled motion segment was compared with its own intact state. Addition of the staple would intuitively be expected to increase motion segment stiffness, however we suggest that the staple prongs may cause sufficient disruption to the vertebral bodies and endplates to slightly reduce overall stiffness. Hence, growth modulation may be achieved through physical disruption of the endplate, rather than static mechanical stress. Further research is planned to investigate the proportion of load carried by the staple during spinal movement and the anatomical effect of the staple on the physis. In conclusion, anterior vertebral stapling causes a slight but significant decrease in the stiffness of treated motion segments.

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ID Code: 13871
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: fusionless surgery, idiopathic scoliosis, stapling, vertebral growth modulation
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING (090300) > Biomechanical Engineering (090302)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Chemistry, Physics & Mechanical Engineering
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 (please consult author)
Deposited On: 25 Jun 2008 00:00
Last Modified: 05 May 2017 01:33

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