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Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2012 Sep 1;37(19):E1177-81. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e3182647c0b.

Can a novel rectangular footplate provide higher resistance to subsidence than circular footplates? An ex vivo biomechanical study.

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  • 1Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Orthopedic Trauma Institute, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA.



Ex vivo biomechanical evaluation using cadaveric vertebral bodies.


To compare the subsidence characteristics of a novel rectangular footplate design with a conventional circular footplate design.


Cage subsidence is a postoperative complication after reconstruction of corpectomy defects in the thoracolumbar spine and depends on factors, such as bone quality, adjunctive fixation, and the relationship between the footplate on the cage and the vertebral body endplate.


Twenty-four cadaveric vertebrae (T12-L5) were disarticulated, potted in a commercial resin, loaded with either a circular or a rectangular footplate, and tested in a servo hydraulic testing machine. Twelve vertebral bodies were loaded with a circular footplate, and after subsidence the same vertebral bodies were loaded with a rectangular footplate. The second set of 12 vertebral bodies was loaded with a rectangular footplate only. Force-displacement curves were developed for the 3 groups, and the ultimate load to failure and stiffness values were calculated.


The ultimate load to failure with the circular footplate was 1310 N (SD, 482). The ultimate load to failure with a rectangular footplate with a central defect and without a central defect was 1636 N (SD, 513) and 2481 N (SD, 1191), respectively. The stiffness of the constructs with circular footplate was 473 N/mm (SD, 205). The stiffness of the constructs with a rectangular footplate with a central defect and without a central defect was 754 N/mm (SD, 217) and 1054 N/mm (SD, 329), respectively.


A rectangular footplate design is more resistant to subsidence than a circular footplate design in an ex vivo biomechanical model. The new design had higher load to failure even in the presence of a central defect. These findings suggest that rectangular footplates may provide better subsidence resistance when used to reconstruct defects after thoracolumbar corpectomy.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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