In cervical arthroplasty, only prosthesis with flexible biomechanical properties should be used for achieving a near-physiological motion pattern

Manfred Mühlbauer*, Ernst Tomasch, Wolfgang Sinz, Siegfried Trattnig, Hermann Steffan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In cervical arthroplasty, qualitative motion analysis generally investigates the position of the center of rotation (COR) before and after surgery. But is the pre-op COR suitable as reference? We believe that only a comparison against healthy individuals can answer whether a physiological motion pattern has been achieved. The aim of our study was to examine how the COR for flexion/extension after insertion of 3 biomechanically completely different types of disc prostheses compares to healthy volunteers, and whether and how prosthesis design contributes to a more natural or maybe even worse motion pattern.
In 15 healthy volunteers, MRI in flexion and in extension was taken, and the coordinates for the CORs (COR-HV) from C3 to C7 were determined. Then pre- and post-op flexion/extension x-rays from 30 patients with a one-level disc prosthesis underwent analysis for determination of COR from C3 to C7; 10 patients who received a Bryan, a Prestige STLP, or a Discover prosthesis were chosen, respectively. Change of post-op COR position was investigated in relation to the COR-HV.
The pre-operative COR is not congruent with the COR found in healthy subjects and therefore cannot be used as reference for investigation whether a disc prosthesis resembles natural motion. However, the comparison with healthy individuals shows that prosthesis insertion can change the coordinates of the COR to any direction in all levels from C3/4 to C6/7 regardless of the operated segment. Prostheses with flexible biomechanical properties can contribute to shift the COR toward normal, but devices with unphysiological biomechanical design, like fixed ball socket designs, for instance, can make the motion pattern even worse.
Even if the small cohorts in our study do not allow strong conclusions, it seems that in cervical arthroplasty, the biomechanical concept of the prosthesis has a significant impact whether a near-physiological motion pattern can be achieved or not. As it is a rumor but not scientifically proven that prosthesis design has no influence on clinical outcome, surgeons should only choose devices with flexible biomechanical properties for disc replacement.
Original languageEnglish
Article number391
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Sept 2020


  • Cervical arthroplasty
  • Cervical spine biomechanics
  • In vivo kinematic study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Fields of Expertise

  • Human- & Biotechnology

Treatment code (Nähere Zuordnung)

  • Basic - Fundamental (Grundlagenforschung)


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