Vertebroplasty prefilling or fenestrated pedicle screw augmentation can be used to enhance pullout resistance in elderly patients. It is not clear which method offers the most reliable fixation strength if axial pullout and a bending moment is applied. The purpose of this study is to validate a new in vitro model aimed to reproduce a cut out mechanism of lumbar pedicle screws, to compare fixation strength in elderly spines with different cement augmentation techniques and to analyze factors that might influence the failure pattern.
Materials and methods
Six human specimens (82–100 years) were instrumented percutaneously at L2, L3 and L4 by non-augmented screws, vertebroplasty augmentation and fenestrated screws. Cement distribution (2ml PMMA) was analyzed on CT. Vertebral endplates and the rod were oriented at 45° to the horizontal plane. The vertebral body was held by resin in a cylinder, linked to an unconstrained pivot, on which traction (10N/s) was applied until rupture. Load-displacement curves were compared to simultaneous video recordings.
Median pullout forces were 488.5N (195–500) for non-augmented screws, 643.5N (270–1050) for vertebroplasty augmentation and 943.5N (750–1084) for fenestrated screws. Cement augmentation through fenestrated screws led to significantly higher rupture forces compared to non-augmented screws (P=0.0039). The pullout force after vertebroplasty was variable and linked to cement distribution. A cement bolus around the distal screw tip led to pullout forces similar to non-augmented screws. A proximal cement bolus, as it was observed in fenestrated screws, led to higher pullout resistance. This cement distribution led to vertebral body fractures prior to screw pullout.
The experimental setup tended to reproduce a pullout mechanism observed on radiographs, combining axial pullout and a bending moment. Cement augmentation with fenestrated screws increased pullout resistance significantly, whereas the fixation strength with the vertebroplasty prefilling method was linked to the cement distribution.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Keywords : Pullout test, Percutaneous pedicle screw augmentation, Elderly spine, Cement distribution, Rupture pattern