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Lim Tae-Hong; Goel, Vijay K.; Winterbottom, John M.; Kessler, Brett; Ahn, Jae Y.; Gwon, Jong K.; Park, Joon B.; Weinstein, James N.
Journal of Spinal Disorders: February 1994
Original Articles: PDF Only


A hypothesis that device-related osteopenia can be reduced by decreasing the rigidity of a fixation device was tested through a canine study. Polymer washers were interposed between the integral nut and plate of the variable spinal plating (VSP) system to reduce its rigidity. A solid fusion was observed 6 months postoperatively in all of the animals using VSP or modified systems. The stabilized segment using both systems showed similar load-displacement behaviors immediately after surgery and 6 months postoperatively. Although not significant, 5.6 and 1.8% decreases in volumetric density of mineralized bone were found in the stabilized segments due to VSP and modified systems, respectively. The modified system also increased bone growth around screws. The new concept of using polymer washers, to decrease rigidity of the fixation device over time, may reduce device-related osteopenia.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. T.-H. Lim at Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, The Medical College of Wisconsin, 8700 West Wisconsin Avenue, Box 149, Milwaukee, WI 53226, U.S.A.

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