Skip to main content

01.03.2012 | Original Article | Ausgabe 3/2012 Open Access

European Spine Journal 3/2012

The impact of bone mineral density and disc degeneration on shear strength and stiffness of the lumbar spine following laminectomy

European Spine Journal > Ausgabe 3/2012
Arno Bisschop, Margriet G. Mullender, Idsart Kingma, Timothy U. Jiya, Albert J. van der Veen, Jan C. Roos, Jaap H. van Dieën, Barend J. van Royen



Laminectomy is a standard surgical procedure for elderly patients with symptomatic degenerative lumbar stenosis. The procedure aims at decompression of the affected nerves, but it also causes a reduction of spinal shear strength and shear stiffness. The magnitude of this reduction and the influence of bone mineral density (BMD) and disc degeneration are unknown. We studied the influence of laminectomy, BMD, and disc degeneration on shear force to failure (SFF) and shear stiffness (SS).


Ten human cadaveric lumbar spines were obtained (mean age 72.1 years, range 53–89 years). Laminectomy was performed either on L2 or L4, equally divided within the group of ten spines. BMD was assessed by dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Low BMD was defined as a BMD value below the median. Intervertebral discs were assessed for degeneration by MRI (Pfirrmann) and scaled in mild and severe degeneration groups. Motion segments L2–L3 and L4–L5 were isolated from each spine. SFF and SS were measured, while loading simultaneously with 1,600 N axial compression.


Low BMD had a significant negative effect on SFF. In addition, a significant interaction between low BMD and laminectomy was found. In the high BMD group, SFF was 2,482 N (range 1,678–3,284) and decreased to 1,371 N (range 940–1,886) after laminectomy. In the low BMD group, SFF was 1,339 N (range 909–1,628) and decreased to 761 N (range 561–1,221). Disc degeneration did not affect SFF, nor did it interact with laminectomy. Neither low BMD nor the interaction of low BMD and laminectomy did affect SS. Degeneration and its interaction with laminectomy did not significantly affect SS.


In conclusion, low BMD significantly decreased SFF before and after lumbar laminectomy. Therefore, DXA assessment may be an important asset to preoperative screening. Lumbar disc degeneration did not affect shear properties of lumbar segments before or after laminectomy.

Unsere Produktempfehlungen

e.Med Interdisziplinär


Mit e.Med Interdisziplinär erhalten Sie Zugang zu allen CME-Fortbildungen und Fachzeitschriften auf

e.Med Orthopädie & Unfallchirurgie


Mit e.Med Orthopädie & Unfallchirurgie erhalten Sie Zugang zu CME-Fortbildungen der Fachgebiete, den Premium-Inhalten der dazugehörigen Fachzeitschriften, inklusive einer gedruckten Zeitschrift Ihrer Wahl.

Über diesen Artikel

Weitere Artikel der Ausgabe 3/2012

European Spine Journal 3/2012 Zur Ausgabe

Neu im Fachgebiet Orthopädie und Unfallchirurgie

Mail Icon II Newsletter

Bestellen Sie unseren kostenlosen Newsletter Update Orthopädie und Unfallchirurgie und bleiben Sie gut informiert – ganz bequem per eMail.