The biconvex mobile core of the CHARITÉ lumbar disc prosthesis forms two joints (spherical bearings) with the metal end plates. We quantified the intra-prosthesis motion to test the hypothesis that the total prosthesis motion would not be equally distributed between the two bearings of implanted CHARITÉ discs, which might explain the unequal wear distribution reported in explanted cores.Methods:
The hypothesis was tested by studying the flexion-extension motion responses of (1) twenty-six monosegmental CHARITÉ III discs implanted in nineteen human cadaveric lumbar spines, and (2) twenty-one CHARITÉ III discs (fifteen monosegmental, six bisegmental) implanted in eighteen patients in other published clinical studies. Intra-prosthesis motions were quantified with use of a radiographic image analysis technique.Results:
Eighty-eight percent of the CHARITÉ discs implanted in cadaveric specimens exhibited larger motion at the superior bearing, with 54% demonstrating more than twice as much motion at the superior bearing as at the inferior bearing. The ratio of motion at the superior bearing to motion at the inferior bearing averaged 2.68 ± 1.84, which was significantly larger than 1.0 (p < 0.001). Ninety percent of prostheses implanted in patients showed larger motion at the superior bearing. The motion ratio averaged 2.39 ± 2.47 for monosegmental cases and 2.55 ± 2.66 for all cases; both ratios were significantly larger than 1.0 (p < 0.05).Conclusions:
We found preferentially larger motion at the superior bearing of the CHARITÉ discs implanted in human cadaveric lumbar spines and in patients, regardless of the implanted level.Clinical Relevance:
The findings regarding unequal motion distribution between the dual bearings of mobile-core disc prostheses are relevant to improving in vitro wear testing protocols to better replicate in vivo wear-producing conditions.