Short isthmic versus long trans-isthmic C2 screw : anatomical and biomechanical evaluation
TypeArticles dans des revues avec comité de lecture
INTRODUCTION: The Harms technique is now considered as the gold standard to stabilize C1-C2 cervical spine. It has been reported to decrease the risk of vertebral artery injury. However, the risk of vascular injury does not totally disappear, particularly due to the proximity of the trans-isthmic C2 screw with the foramen transversarium of C2. In order to decrease this risk of vertebral artery injury, it has been proposed to use a shorter screw which stops before the foramen transversarium. OBJECT: The main objective was to compare the pull-out strength of long trans-isthmic screw (LS) versus short isthmic screw (SS) C2 screw. An additional morphological study was also performed. METHOD: Thirteen fresh-frozen human cadaveric cervical spines were included in the study. Orientation, width and height of the isthmus of C2 were measured on CT scan. Then, 3.5-mm titanium screws were inserted in C2 isthmus according to the Harms technique. Each specimen received a LS and a SS. The side and the order of placement were determined with a randomization table. Pull-out strengths and stiffness were evaluated with a testing machine, and paired samples were compared using Wilcoxon signed-rank test and also the Kaplan-Meier method. RESULTS: The mean isthmus transversal orientation was 20° ± 6°. The mean width of C2 isthmus was less than 3.5 mm in 35 % of the cases. The mean pull-out strength for LS was 340 ± 85 versus 213 ± 104 N for SS (p = 0.004). The mean stiffness for the LS was 144 ± 40 and 97 ± 54 N/mm for the SS (p = 0.02). DISCUSSION: The pull-out strength of trans-isthmic C2 screws was significantly higher (60 % additional pull-out resistance) than SSs. Although associated with an inferior resistance, SSs may be used in case of narrow isthmus which contraindicates 3.5-mm screw insertion but does not represent the first option for C2 instrumentation. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level V.
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