Biomechanical investigation of primary and revised cement-augmented pedicle screws in comparison with unaugmented screws.
To evaluate revision of cannulated pedicle screws and investigate cement-augmented and nonaugmented screws biomechanically, testing the torque of primary screws and axial pullout force of revised screws in cadaver vertebrae.
Summary of Background Data.
Cement augmentation increases the pullout force and stability of pedicle screws in vertebrae with low bone mineral density, but surgeons are concerned about complications during revision.
Bone mineral density was measured using quantitative computed tomography (CT) in 23 osteoporotic thoracolumbar junction vertebrae from human cadavers. Cannulated pedicle screws, augmented with bone cement (on right) or unaugmented (left), were inserted into each vertebra. After CT control, extraction torque was measured and the pedicles were reinstrumented with larger-diameter screws. The right screws were augmented again, with another CT control, before pullout testing.
Mean vertebral bone density was 52.6 mg/cm3. No major screw malpositioning was observed on primary CTs. Cement leakage was observed anterolaterally and into the spinal canal. Mean maximal torque in augmented screws (1.2 Nm, SD: 0.6) differed significantly from nonaugmented screws (0.8 Nm, SD: 0.6). Screw removal did not lead to vertebral destruction. No relevant changes due to positioning or leakage were observed on CT after revision procedures compared with primary findings. Maximal pullout force in revised augmented screws (713.2 N, SD: 254.6) differed significantly compared with nonaugmented screws (554.0 N, SD: 296.5). Bone damage was observed in several vertebrae during pullout force testing in augmented screws.
Revision of cement-augmented pedicle screws was feasible without bone destruction, and larger-diameter screws can be used in revision procedures. The pullout force after revision was significantly better in cement-augmented screws. During pullout testing, the cement-bone interface broke before the screw-cement interface in several vertebrae, fracturing the pedicles.