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Effects of surgical joint destabilization on load sharing between ligamentous structures in the thoracic spine : a finite element investigation

Little, J. Paige & Adam, Clayton J. (2011) Effects of surgical joint destabilization on load sharing between ligamentous structures in the thoracic spine : a finite element investigation. Clinical Biomechanics, 26(9), pp. 895-903.

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Abstract

Background: In vitro investigations have demonstrated the importance of the ribcage in stabilising the thoracic spine. Surgical alterations of the ribcage may change load-sharing patterns in the thoracic spine. Computer models are used in this study to explore the effect of surgical disruption of the rib-vertebrae connections on ligament load-sharing in the thoracic spine.

Methods: A finite element model of a T7-8 motion segment, including the T8 rib, was developed using CT-derived spinal anatomy for the Visible Woman. Both the intact motion segment and the motion segment with four successive stages of destabilization (discectomy and removal of right costovertebral joint, right costotransverse joint and left costovertebral joint) were analysed for a 2000Nmm moment in flexion/extension, lateral bending and axial rotation. Joint rotational moments were compared with existing in vitro data and a detailed investigation of the load sharing between the posterior ligaments carried out.

Findings: The simulated motion segment demonstrated acceptable agreement with in vitro data at all stages of destabilization. Under lateral bending and axial rotation, the costovertebral joints were of critical importance in resisting applied moments. In comparison to the intact joint, anterior destabilization increases the total moment contributed by the posterior ligaments.

Interpretation: Surgical removal of the costovertebral joints may lead to excessive rotational motion in a spinal joint, increasing the risk of overload and damage to the remaining ligaments. The findings of this study are particularly relevant for surgical procedures involving rib head resection, such as some techniques for scoliosis deformity correction.

Impact and interest:

5 citations in Scopus
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4 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 48159
Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: thoracic spine, costovertebral joints, ribcage, scoliosis biomechanics, finite element model, spinal ligaments
DOI: 10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2011.05.004
ISSN: 0268-0033
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING (090300) > Biomechanical Engineering (090302)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > CLINICAL SCIENCES (110300) > Orthopaedics (110314)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Past > Schools > School of Engineering Systems
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
Copyright Statement: NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in the journal Clinical Biomechanics. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Clinical Biomechanics 26 (2011) 895–903, DOI: 10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2011.05.004
Deposited On: 20 Jan 2012 14:47
Last Modified: 11 Sep 2013 01:00

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