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Stress analysis of the implants in transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion under static and vibration loadings: a comparison between pedicle screw fixation system with rigid and flexible rods. – Back Pain Doctor Harley Street

Stress analysis of the implants in transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion under static and vibration loadings: a comparison between pedicle screw fixation system with rigid and flexible rods.

The use of a pedicle screw fixation system with rods made of more compliant materials has become increasingly popular for spine fusion surgery in recent years. The aim of this study was to compare stress responses of the implants in transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) when using flexible and conventional rigid posterior fixation systems. A previously validated intact L1-S1 finite element model was modified to simulate single-level (L4-L5) TLIF with bilateral pedicle screw fixation using two types of connecting rod (rigid and flexible rods). The von Mises stresses in the implants (including TLIF cage, pedicle screws and rods) for the rigid and flexible fixations were analyzed under static and vibration loadings. The results showed that compared with the rigid fixation, the use of flexible fixation decreased the maximum stress in the pedicle screws, but increased the maximum stress in the cage and the ratio of maximum stress in the rods to the yield stress. It was also found that with decreasing diameter of the flexible rod (i.e. increasing flexibility of the rod), the maximum stress was decreased in the pedicle screws but increased in the cage and the rods. The findings imply that compared with the rigid rod, application of the flexible rod in the pedicle screw fixation system for the TLIF might decrease the breakage risk of pedicle screws but increase the risk of cage subsidence and rod breakage. Moreover, flexibility of the rod in the flexible fixation system should be carefully determined.

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