Background: Short-segment pedicle screw instrumentation (SSPI) is used for unstable burst fractures to correct deformity and stabilize the spine for fusion. However, pedicle screw loosening, pullout, or breakage often occurs due to the large moment applied during spine motion, leading to poor outcomes. The purpose of this study was to test the ability of a newly designed device, the Trans-Endplate Pedicle Pillar System (TEPPS), to enhance SSPI rigidity and decrease the screw bending moment with a simple posterior approach. Methods: Six human cadaveric spines (T11-L3) were harvested. A burst fracture was created at L1, and the SSPI (Moss Miami System) was used for SSPI fixation. Strain gauge sensors were mounted on upper pedicle screws tomeasure screw load bearing. Segmental motion (T12-L2) was measured under pure moment of 7.5 Nm. The spine was tested sequentially under 4 conditions: intact; first SSPI alone (SSPI-1); SSPI+TEPPS; and second SSPI alone (SSPI-2). Results: SSPI+TEPPS increased fixation rigidity by 41% in flexion/extension, 28% in lateral bending, and 37% in axial rotation compared with SSPI-1 (P<0.001), and it performed even better compared to SSPI-2 (P<0.001 for all). Importantly, the bending moment on the pedicle screws for SSPI+TEPPS was significantly decreased 63% during spine flexion and 47% in lateral bending (p<0.001). Conclusion: TEPPS provided strong anterior support, enhanced SSPI fixation rigidity, and dramatically decreased the load on the pedicle screws. Its biomechanical benefits could potentially improve fusion rates and decrease SSPI instrumentation failure.
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