Torsional injury resulting in disc degeneration: I. An in vivo rabbit model

Alexander G. Hadjipavlou, James W. Simmons, Jinping P. Yang, Lin Xiang Bi, Ghulam A.S. Ansari, Bhupendra S. Kaphalia, David J. Simmons, Clarence L. Nicodemus, Jeffrey T. Necessary, Richard Lane, Oliver Esch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Torsional injuries may be a precursor to intervertebral disc degeneration, but published rabbit models indicate a latent time of 6 months. We describe a rabbit model in which instability and disc degeneration appear within 3 months. Sixty-five male New Zealand rabbits underwent presurgical irradiation to inhibit heterotopic bone formation. Control animals then underwent either a soft-tissue release or facetectomy and capsulotomy, whereas experimental animals received surgery and an acute 30°torsional lumbar injury. Capsulotomy, as well as facetectomy without torsion, failed to effect disc degeneration. However, the rabbits that received torsion exhibited clear indications of degenerative disc changes (thinning, increased PLA2 levels, and decreased nucleus pulposus volume) within 60-90 days. The observations associate disc degeneration with a destabilizing acute torsional injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)312-317
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Spinal Disorders
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1998


  • Intervertebral disc degeneration
  • Lumbar spine
  • Phospholipase A
  • Torsional injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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