Postlaminectomy Stabilization of the Spine in a Rat Model of Neuropathic Pain Reduces Pain-Related Behavior

Busic, Zeljko MD; Kostic, Sandra MSc; Kosta, Vana MD, PhD; Carija, Robert MD; Puljak, Livia MD, PhD; Sapunar, Damir MD, PhD

Spine . 37(22):1874–1882, 15 October 2012.

doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e31825a2c2b


Study Design. Spine deformity and pain-related behavior after laminectomy with and without spine stabilization were investigated.

Objective. We tested hypothesis that spine stabilization after extensive laminectomy can prevent spine deformation and consequent pain-related behavior.

Summary of Background Data. Various ablative procedures requiring laminectomy have been tested for prevention or reversal of pain-related behavior in studies using experimental animals. However, there is no precise description indicating how laminectomy should be performed. Lack of standardized surgical techniques makes it difficult to achieve uniformity of result reporting and to compare results of different research groups meaningfully.

Methods. To test our hypothesis, extensive laminectomy with and without spine stabilization was performed in Sprague-Dawley rats. U-shaped surgical wire was used for stabilization of the spine. A validated test of mechanical hyperalgesia was used to test the development of neuropathic pain behavior after surgery. Deformity of the spine was evaluated by calculating deviation from the central axis on radiographs obtained in anteroposterior projection.

Results. Surgical stabilization of the spine after laminectomy prevented development of spinal deformity. Laminectomy without stabilization induced hyperalgesia on the 8th and 15th days after surgery. Group with stabilized spine exhibited significant reduction in pain-related behavior on the 8th and 15th postoperative days compared with the group without stabilization.

Conclusion. Surgical stabilization of the spine after laminectomy prevented development of spinal deformity and pain-related behavior. Our results suggest that spine stabilization procedure should be used in all experimental pain models in which laminectomy is performed.