Comparison of Cobb technique, quantitative motion analysis, and radiostereometric analysis in measurement of segmental range of motions after lumbar total disc arthroplasty.

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STUDY DESIGN: Prospective clinical study.

OBJECTIVE: To compare the amount of segmental motion in the sagittal plane after lumbar total disc arthroplasty (TDA) measured by using the Cobb technique, quantitative motion analysis (QMA), and radiostereometric analysis (RSA).

SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: The aim of TDA is preservation of motion and therefore essential to properly quantify the motion. Clinically, segmental motion is measured by using the Cobb technique, which involves either the endplates or the implant as radiographic landmarks. This technique has been reported to have large intraobserver and interobserver variability. QMA and RSA are in vivo techniques that can measure the segmental motion with accuracy, but have not been compared with each other or compared with the Cobb technique in the literature.

METHODS: Ten patients (6 males and 4 females, 47 + or - 7 y) with lumbar disc degeneration were surgically treated with ProDisc-L (Synthes Inc). Intraoperatively, tantalum beads were inserted into each vertebra and patients were followed postoperatively at 1 month, 1 year, and 2 years. At each follow-up time-point, biplanar flexion/extension radiographs were obtained and sagittal range of motion (ROM) of the index level was calculated by using the RSA technique. Clinical flexion/extension radiographs were also obtained and the sagittal ROM at the same level was calculated by using a modified Cobb technique. The clinical films were additionally analyzed by Medical Metrics for sagittal ROM using QMA. The results of the 3 measurement techniques were statistically analyzed and compared in pairwise fashion.

RESULTS: A significant difference (P = 0.02) was observed between the Cobb technique (5.9 + or - 4.9) and RSA (3.5 + or - 2.4). A trend (P = 0.069) was also seen between QMA (5.7 + or - 4.7) and RSA. On paired-samples correlation, a significantly high correlation was seen between Cobb technique and QMA (r = 0.868, P < 0.001). A larger variability was seen when using the Cobb technique or QMA in comparison to the RSA.

CONCLUSIONS: Sagittal ROM after TDA was similar between QMA and digital Cobb technique. A larger variability was seen between these techniques and RSA.





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Medicine and Health Sciences




Department of Surgery

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