The effect of interspinous implant surgery on back surface shape and radiographic lumbar curvature

Rebecca Crawford, Roger Price, Kevin Singer

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    31 Citations (Scopus)


    Background - Interspinous process implants, used to augment lumbar spine surgery, putatively induce a local segmental lumbar kyphosis yet few investigations outline the effect in vivo on thoracolumbar sagittal curvature. Changes in lumbar skeletal alignment and posture have traditionally relied upon radiographic and back surface spinal curvature measurements, respectively. Methods - Lumbar lordosis curvature in 10 healthy subjects (6F, 4M; mean age 36 years) and 10 interspinous implant lumbar surgery patients (5F, 5M; mean age 51 years) was assessed with rasterstereography at baseline and at 6 weeks. Skeletal lumbar lordosis in standing was measured from lateral erect radiography pre- and 6 weeks post-operatively in the surgical cohort, and compared to angulation obtained for surface lordosis curvature derived from rasterstereography. Findings - Repeatable measurement of standing lumbar lordosis from rasterstereographic back shape imaging in healthy volunteers and lumbar surgery cases was demonstrated. Reductions of 0.6 (NS) in healthy and 3.1 (significant, P <0.001) in surgical subjects were recorded for surface lumbar lordosis angle between the 6 week time-points. Slight flattening of the segmental angle and regional lordosis after DIAM surgery was revealed by radiography. Skeletal and surface lumbar lordosis changes were uncorrelated preoperatively (ρ = 0.28) and postoperatively (ρ = 0.26). Interpretation - Rasterstereography is sensitive in assessing lumbar lordosis changes in healthy and lumbar surgical individuals over time. Surgery with DIAM for lumbar pathology may result in an initial mild flattening of lordosis. Serial investigations of spinal curvature after surgery with DIAM interspinous implant are warranted in order to better understand the time-course of spinal posture changes of such cases.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)467-472
    JournalClinical Biomechanics
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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