Author(s): Moore DC, Maitra RS, Farjo LA, Graziano GP, Goldstein SA
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Abstract STUDY DESIGN: Pedicle screws were pulled out of human cadaveric vertebrae before and after augmentation with polymethylmethacrylate or in situ-setting calcium phosphate cement. The fixation strength of screws augmented with calcium phosphate cement was compared with that of screws augmented with polymethylmethacrylate. OBJECTIVES: To determine whether a new in situ-setting calcium phosphate cement might be suitable for augmenting the fixation of pedicle screws. The principle objective was to compare the pull-out resistance of screws augmented with calcium phosphate cement with the pull-out behavior of screws augmented with polymethylmethacrylate. Polymethylmethacrylate augmentation was chosen as the standard because of its current clinical use. Five types of screws were tested to determine whether screw design had an effect on the efficacy of augmentation. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: Although many factors affect the pull-out resistance of pedicle screws, a key determinant of their performance is the strength of their attachment to the spine. In elderly, osteopenic patients, the screw-bone interface is especially at risk for stripping during insertion or pull-out after surgery. In these patients, polymethylmethacrylate has been used to augment pedicle screw fixation, although its use is not without risk. In situ-setting calcium phosphate cements may provide an alternative to polymethylmethacrylate in this application. Like polymethylmethacrylate, calcium phosphate cements can be injected into the prepared screw hole. They have the added advantage of being resorbed and replaced during healing and normal bone remodeling. METHODS: Thirty human lower lumbar vertebrae (L3-L5) were implanted bilaterally with one of five types of pedicle screws (n = 6 for each screw type). The screws were pulled out 3.0 mm at 0.25 mm/sec with a servohydraulic materials testing machine. The 3.0-mm pull-out distance, which was slightly longer than one thread pitch, was designed to strip the screw-bone interface but to leave the pedicle otherwise intact. After the initial testing, the screws in each vertebrae were removed, and the screw tracks were filled with 2.0 cc of polymethylmethacrylate (one side) or calcium phosphate cement (contralateral side). After augmentation, the screws were reinserted, and the cements were allowed to harden for 24 hours. Postaugmentation testing followed the protocols for preaugmentation testing, and the pull-out resistance of screws augmented with calcium phosphate cement was compared with the pull-out resistance of screws augmented with polymethylmethacrylate. RESULTS: Mechanically, calcium phosphate cement compared favorably with polymethylmethacrylate for augmenting pedicle screws. Both restored the strength of the screw-bone interface: across all screw types, the average increase in pull-out strength was 147\% with polymethylmethacrylate augmentation and 102\% with calcium phosphate cement. There were no significant differences because of screw type with either type of augmentation. CONCLUSIONS: The in situ-setting calcium phosphate cement investigated in this study compared favorably with polymethylmethacrylate in a single-cycle, pull-out test of augmented pedicle screws in senile trabecular bone. With further evaluation, this cement may offer an alternative to polymethylmethacrylate for the enhancement of pedicle screw fixation clinically.
This article was published in Spine (Phila Pa 1976)
and referenced in Journal of Osteoporosis and Physical Activity