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J Neurosurg Spine. 2007 Oct;7(4):414-8.

In vitro biomechanical comparison of transpedicular versus translaminar C-2 screw fixation in C2-3 instrumentation.

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Department of Neurosurgery, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, USA.



In instrumentation of the upper cervical spine, placement of pedicle screws into C-2 is generally safe, although there is the potential for injury to the vertebral arteries. Owing to this risk, translaminar screws into C-2 have been used. The aim of this study was to compare the stability of the in vitro cadaveric spine using C-2 laminar compared with C-2 pedicle screws in C2-3 instrumentation.


Eight fresh frozen human cadaveric cervical spines (C1-6) were potted at C1-2 and C5-6. Pure moments in increments of 0.3 Nm to a maximum of 1.5 Nm were applied in flexion, extension, right and left lateral bending, and right and left axial rotation. Each specimen was tested sequentially in three modes: 1) intact; 2) C2 pedicle screw-C3 lateral mass fixation; and 3) C2 laminar screw-C3 lateral mass fixation. The sequence of fixation testing was randomized. Motion was tracked with reflective markers attached to C-2 and C-3.


Spinal levels with instrumentation showed significantly less motion than the intact spine in all directions and with all loads greater than 0.3 Nm (p < 0.05). Although there was no significant difference between C2 pedicle screw-C3 lateral mass fixation and C2 laminar screw-C3 lateral mass fixation, generally the former type of fixation was associated with less motion than the latter.


When pedicle screws in C-2 are contraindicated or inappropriate, laminar screws in C-2 offer a safe and acceptable option for posterior instrumentation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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