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Cervical spine degeneration specific segmental angular rotational and displacements: A quantitative study. Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon) 2022 May 28;97:105688



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BACKGROUND: The objective of the present isolated spine study was to evaluate the kinematic differences between groups of normal and degenerated cervical spine specimens. Previous studies on cervical spine degeneration support the existence of the unstable phase during the degeneration process; however, there is a lack of quantitative data available to fully characterize this early stage of degeneration.

METHOD: For this effort five degenerated and eight normal cervical spines (C2-T1) were isolated and were subject to pure bending moments of flexion, extension, axial rotation and lateral bending. The specimen quality was assessed based on the grading scale. In the present study, the degeneration was at the C5-C6 level. A four-camera motion analysis system was used to measure the overall primary and segmental motions.

FINDING: In the extension mode, the degenerated group demonstrated a significant larger angular rotation as well as antero-posterior displacement at the degenerated level (C5-C6). In contrast, in flexion mode, the degenerated group measured a drastic decrease in angular rotation, at the adjacent level (C6-C7). In other modes of loading as well as in other segmental levels, the degenerated group had similar segmental motion as the normal group.

INTERPRETATION: These preliminary results provide single level degeneration specific cervical spine kinematics. The finding demonstrates the influence of degeneration on the kinematics of the normal sub adjacent segment. The degenerated group observed larger translation displacement in the extension mode, which would potentially be a critical parameter in assisting early detection of cervical spine spondylosis with just a functional X-ray scan.

Author List

Somasundaram K, Cusick JF, Yoganandan N, Pintar FA


Frank A. Pintar PhD Chair, Professor in the Biomedical Engineering department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Narayan Yoganandan PhD Professor in the Neurosurgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin