The quantity of bone cement influences the anchorage of augmented pedicle screws in the osteoporotic spine: A biomechanical human cadaveric study

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Background::The aim of this comparative biomechanical human cadaveric study was to investigate the anchorage of augmented screws with two different volumes of bone cement. For this purpose the effect of cranio-caudal loadings on pedicle screws was evaluated and axial pullout tests were performed.Methods::A total of 50 pedicle screws (25 augmented/25 non-augmented) were instrumented into osteoporotic vertebra of fresh human cadavers. The augmented screws were grounded by two different volumes of bone cement (1.5cm3 vs 4cm3). Biomechanical performance was assessed by performing a cyclic loading protocol (frequency: 3 Hz, load range: 20–200 N, number of cycles: 100,000), followed by axial pullout (13 augmented/11 non-augmented) or by either directly measuring axial pullout strength (12 augmented/12 non-augmented).Findings::The median T-score of the specimens was − 4.25 (range: − 6.38 to − 2.4). Pullout tests with and without cyclic preloading showed significantly increased pullout strength in augmented screws (Fmax: augmented: 1159 N (SD 395 N); non-augmented: 532 N (SD 297 N); p < 0.05). No significant difference in the pullout strength was found concerning the quantity of cement (Fmax (direct pullout): 4.0 cm3: 1463 N (SD 307 N); 1.5 cm3: 1214 N (SD 236 N); p > 0.05). The pullout strength significantly decreased in high-volume augmented screws after cyclic loading (Fmax (4.0 cm3): direct pullout 1463 N (SD 307 N); cyclic preload: 902 N (SD 435 N); p < 0.05).Interpretation::Biomechanical advantages of augmented pedicle screws can also be found after cyclic preload. However, our results indicate that the anchoring stability of high-volume augmented pedicle screws after cyclic loading is disadvantageous compared to moderate augmented screws; thus high-volume augmentation should be avoided.

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