Effect of disk fenestration on sagittal kinematics of the canine C5-C6 intervertebral space

Nicholas B. Macy, Clifford M. Les, Susan M Stover, Philip H Kass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Objective - To determine the effect that ventral intervertebral disk fenestration has on the sagittal range of motion about the C5-C6 intervertebral space. Study Design - A repeated measures in vitro mechanical study of spinal range of motion under controlled loading conditions before and after fenestration. Sample Population - A total of 10 canine cervical vertebral specimens (C4-C7) collected from clinically normal animals within 12 hours of euthanasia. Methods - Specimens were loaded as cantilever beams fixed at C7. Weights (1 to 5 kg) were progressively applied to C4 to produce flexion or extension in the sagittal plane. Radiographs were taken at each load, 3 times before and 3 times after fenestration of the C5-C6 disk. The positions of radiodense markers embedded in the vertebrae were used to calculate flexion and extension angles and range of motion. Results - Range of motion (difference between flexion and extension) and flexion and extension angles (individually) significantly increased after fenestration (P < .0001). Conclusion - Ventral fenestration produces sagittal instability of the C5-C6 disk space. Clinical Relevance - In surgical fusion of caudal cervical intervertebral spaces in dogs, radiographically normal disks adjacent to the affected space are often fenestrated to facilitate distraction before surgical stabilization. This study shows that ventral fenestration produces instability of a caudal cervical intervertebral space in the model used. Such instability may contribute to the development of the secondary instability ("domino lesions") seen in some surgically treated dogs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-179
Number of pages9
JournalVeterinary Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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