Importance of Bone Mineral Density in Instrumented Spine Fusions

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The effect of equivalent mineral density on pedicular screw fixation strength was investigated. The equivalent mineral density of human vertebral bodies was correlated highly with the pullout force of Kluger screws (r2 = 0.61, P < 0.02). A moderate to high correlation existed between density and vertical force (r2 = 0.42 for Kluger screws, r2 = 0.55 for Steffee screws, P < 0.02). In calf vertebral bodies of higher density (146 ± 14 mg/cc), the forces were significantly higher than in the human vertebral bodies (P < 0.05). Human lumbosacral spines were instrumented with three different fixators: Steffee plates, AO fixateur interne, and Kluger fixateur interne. Of five specimens with a mean density of 88 ± 11 mg/cc, one, screw loosened. More than one screw loosened in six specimens with a mean density of 63 ± 12 mg/cc, and no screw loosened in four specimens with a mean density of 114 ± 38 mg/cc. Measurement of equivalent mineral density correlates with the fixation strength of the intrapedicular screws. in vitro and should be considered in patients with signs of osteopenia before using pedicular screws for spinal fusions. It is also concluded that calf spines are a good model for testing implants because they tend to focus failure processes in the implant rather than in the implant-bone interface.

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