Animal models are commonly used to study spinal cord injuries (SCI). These models aim to better understand the traumatic behaviour of the spinal cord in vivo. However, experimental SCI models usually simulate a posterior contusion of the spinal cord on small animals, which do not reproduce completely the SCI mechanisms in humans.
The objectives of the study are: 1) to develop an experimental anterior contusion of the spinal cord on porcine models, and 2) to compare biomechanical differences between ventral and dorsal approaches.
A total of 6 specimens were tested in vivo with a drop weight bench test. Impacts were produced at T10 with 5mm diameter impactor of 50g and dropped from a height of 100mm. Compression time was set to 5min for 4 specimens (2 ventral, 2 dorsal) and 60min for 1 ventral and 1 dorsal. The outcome measures were the compression displacement, blood pressure, heart rate and macroscopic inspection of the spinal cord.
This is the first study proposing an animal model of anterior SCI. Preliminary results suggest that there is a biomechanical difference between ventral and dorsal contusion approaches. A new bench test especially designed for ventral contusion will allow additional tests analyzing more variables, such as the motor evoked potentials and arterial blood flow.