Cervical spine locking plate: in vitro biomechanical testing

Stephen A. Smith, Ronald W. Lindsey, Brian J. Doherty, Jerry W. Alexander, Jessie H. Dickson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The AO cervical spine locking plate (CSLP) for anterior subaxial fixation was recently received increasing clinical acclaim, yet to date the in vitro mechanical properties of this implant have not been reported. To determine the in vitro biomechanical properties of this device, five fresh human cadaver cervical spines were subjected to nondestructive testing in flexion and torsion in three stages: stage 1: intact spine; stage 2: destabilized spine; stage 3: destabilized spine with CSLP. Stage 3 specimens were also subjected to large angular displacement testing to assess the integrity of the fixation. In flexion, mean spinous process displacement was 1.21 mm for stage 1, 3.19 mm for stage 2, and 1.37 mm, for stage 3. Mean torsional stiffness was 2.86 Nm/degree in stage 1, 1.82 Nm/degree in stage 2, and 2.20 Nm/degree in stage 3. Large angular displacement testing in stage 3 resulted in screw loosening from the bone in two specimens; no screw plate loosening occurred. In our severely destabilized in vitro model, the CSLP restored flexion stability but not rotational stability. This suggests that supplemented bracing or fixation may be required to restore torsional stability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)222-225
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Spine Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Anterior fixation
  • Biomechanics
  • Cervical spine
  • Plate
  • Stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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