Acta Vet. Brno 2008, 77: 97-102

Biomechanical Evaluation of the MACSTL Internal Fixator for Thoracic Spinal Stabilisation

R. Veselý1, Z. Florián2, P. Wendsche1, J. Tošovský2

1Clinic of Traumatology, Faculty of Medicine, Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic
2Institute of Mechatronics and Biomechanics, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering in Brno, Czech Republic

Received August 15, 2006
Accepted February 14, 2008

Unstable fractures of the thoracic spine in humans represent a serious social and economic issue. They may lead to persistent consequences and chronic disease. The anatomical and biomechanical characteristics of the thoracic spine are different from all the other spinal parts due to its higher mobility. The vertebrae of the chest area are less mobile, conferring a higher degree of rigidity to the spine. To destabilize this relatively rigid system, a considerable force is necessary. The treatment of unstable spinal fractures is solely surgical. The decompression of the spinal canal with reposition and stabilisation of the fracture is indicated urgently. This intervention is performed mostly from the posterior approach in the first phase. However, the anterior spinal column is the structure responsible for the stability of the spine. Therefore, the recent advances in spine surgery focus on this area of expertise. For this reason, we carried out a bio-mechanical study aimed at assessing the effectiveness of two surgical tactics used. The study consisted of comparative experiments performed by computer-aided device on segments of pig cadavers (n = 5). The experiment involved a comparison of segments of the thoracic spine under the following conditions: an anatomically intact segment, a spine segment with an artificially created anterior instability, and a segment with an applied internal fixator. The experiment compared the mechanical characteristics of these segments. The experiment has demonstrated that after application of the internal fixator used for stabilisation of the injured anterior spinal column at defined pre-loading of 200 N, the stability of damaged spinal segment in torsion increased twofold. It was also verified that sufficient stability can be ensured using the Modular Anterior Construct System (MACSTL) implant for ventral stabilisation of thoracic spine unstable injuries. Endoscopic application of this implant represents an additional advantage of this surgical procedure.