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Pedicle Screw Pullout Strength: Correlation with Insertional Torque

Zdeblick Thomas A. MD; Kunz, David N. MS; Cooke, Mary E. MS; McCabe, Ronald BS
Original Article: PDF Only

This study was designed to correlate several parameters regarding pedicle screw bone/metal interface strength. The insertional torque measured during tapping and placement of pedicle screws was correlated with the bone mineral density of the vertebral body, the dimensions of the pedicle, the method of preparation of the pedicle, and the amount of load and number of cycles to failure of the bone/metal Interface, Thirty human cadaveric lumbar vertebrae Were instrumented will 6.5-mm pedicle screws. The maximum torque achieved during insertion was digitally recorded, A cyclic pedicle screw pullout test was performed. A linear correlation existed between both the insertional torque when tapping or when Inserting a screw and the number of cycles to ultimate pedicle screw pullout. An invorse linear relationship was found between the pedicle width and cycles to failure. There was no linear correlation found when comparing the number of cycles to failure to bone mineral density. These findings suggest that insertional torque is a good predictor of bone-metal interface failure Bone mineral density of the vertebral body was less effective as a predictor of failure. Smaller pedicle width correlated with increased insertional torque and cycles to failure. This may explain why patients with osteoporosis on radiography may still obtain stable fixation with pedicle screws. Other factors, such as pedicle dimensions and shape, affect screw purchase as much as vertebral body bone density, Insertional torque less than 4,0 inch-pounds led to early pedicle screw pullout. This study forms the basis for the authors' clinical use of an instrumented torque screw driver to measure insertional torque in the operating room.

© Lippincott-Raven Publishers.