An in vitro biomechanical study for rabbit
lumbar functional spinal units (FSUs) using a robot-based spine testing system.
To elucidate the effect of annular puncture
with a 16 G needle on mechanical properties in flexion/extension, axial rotation, and lateral bending.
Summary of Background Data:
Needle puncture of the intervertebral disk
has been shown to alter mechanical properties of the disk in compression, torsion, and bending. The effect of needle puncture in FSUs, where intact spinal ligaments and facet joints may mitigate or amplify these changes in the disk, on spinal motion segment stability subject to physiological rotations remains unknown.
FSUs were tested using a robot testing system whose force/moment and position precision were assessed to demonstrate system capability. Flexibility testing methods were developed by load-to-failure testing in flexion/extension, axial rotation, and lateral bending. Subsequent testing methods were used to examine a 16 G needle disk puncture and No. 11 blade disk stab (positive control for mechanical disruption). Flexibility testing was used to assess segmental range-of-motion (degrees), neutral zone stiffness (N m/degrees) and width (degrees and N m), and elastic zone stiffness before and after annular injury.
The robot-based system was capable of performing flexibility testing on FSUs—mean precision of force/moment measurements and robot system movements were <3% and 1%, respectively, of moment-rotation target values. Flexibility moment targets were 0.3 N m for flexion and axial rotation and 0.15 N m for extension and lateral bending. Needle puncture caused significant (P
<0.05) changes only in flexion/extension range-of-motion and neutral zone stiffness and width (N m) compared with preintervention. No. 11 blade-stab significantly increased range-of-motion in all motions, decreased neutral zone stiffness and width (N m) in flexion/extension, and increased elastic zone stiffness in flexion and lateral bending.
These findings suggest that disk puncture and stab can destabilize FSUs in primary rotations.