The effect of intervertebral staple insertion on bovine spine segment stiffness

Sunni, Nabeel, Askin, Geoffrey N., Labrom, Robert D., Izatt, Maree T., Pearcy, Mark J., & Adam, Clayton J. (2014) The effect of intervertebral staple insertion on bovine spine segment stiffness. In 25th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Spine Society of Australia, 10-12 April 2014, Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Brisbane, QLD. (Unpublished)



There is growing interest in the biomechanics of ‘fusionless’ implant constructs used for deformity correction in the thoracic spine. Intervertebral stapling is a leading method of fusionless corrective surgery. Although used for a number of years, there is limited evidence as to the effect these staples have on the stiffness of the functional spinal unit.

Materials and Methods

Thoracic spines from 6-8 week old calves were dissected and divided into motion segments including levels T4-T11 (n=14). Each segment was potted in polymethylemethacrylate. An Instron Biaxial materials testing machine with a custom made jig was used for testing. The segments were tested in flexion/extension, lateral bending and axial rotation at 37⁰C and 100% humidity, using moment control to a maximum 1.75 Nm with a loading rate of 0.3 Nm per second. This torque was found sufficient to achieve physiologically representative ranges of movement. The segments were initially tested uninstrumented with data collected from the tenth load cycle. Next a left anterolateral Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) staple was inserted (Medtronic Sofamor Danek, USA). Biomechanical testing was repeated as before with data collected from the tenth load cycle.


In flexion/extension there was an insignificant drop in stiffness of 3% (p=0.478). In lateral bending there was a significant drop in stiffness of 21% (p<0.001). This was mainly in lateral bending away from the staple, where the stiffness reduced by 30% (p<0.001). This was in contrast to lateral bending towards the staple where it dropped by 12% which was still statistically significant (p=0.036). In axial rotation there was an overall near significant drop in stiffness of 11% (p=0.076). However, this was more towards the side of the staple measuring a decrease of 14% as opposed to 8% away from the staple. In both cases it was a statistically insignificant drop (p=0.134 and p=0.352 respectively).


Insertion of intervertebral SMA staples results in a significant reduction in motion segment stiffness in lateral bending especially in the direction away from the staple. The staple had less effect on axial rotation stiffness and minimal effect on flexion/extension stiffness.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 74204
Item Type: Conference Item (Poster)
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: intervertebral staple, Spine staple, fusionless scoliosis surgery, bovine spine, spine motion segment stiffness
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING (090300) > Biomechanical Engineering (090302)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING (090300) > Medical Devices (090304)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > CLINICAL SCIENCES (110300) > Orthopaedics (110314)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Chemistry, Physics & Mechanical Engineering
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 The Author(s)
Deposited On: 22 Jul 2014 22:05
Last Modified: 22 Jul 2014 22:16

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