Reinforcement of Thoracolumbar Burst Fractures With Calcium Phosphate Cement: A Biomechanical Study

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Abstract

Study Design.

A biomechanical study on the stabilization of thoracolumbar burst fractures.

Objective.

To demonstrate that the addition of a calcium phosphate cement into the fractured vertebral body through a transpedicular approach is a feasible technique that improves the stiffness of a transpedicular screw construct.

Summary of Background Data.

Short segment pedicle screw instrumentation is a commonly used method for reduction and stabilization of unstable burst fractures. Recent investigators, however, have reported a high rate of instrumentation failure and sagittal collapse when there is a loss of anterior column support. In this study, the ability of a new hydroxyapatite cement to augment anterior column support was investigated in a burst fracture model.

Methods.

A cadaveric L1 burst fracture model was stabilized using short segment pedicle screw instrumentation. Specially instrumented pedicle screws recorded screw-bending moments. The L1 vertebral body was reinforced with the hydroxyapatite cement through a transpedicular approach. Mechanical testing of the instrumented and instrumented-reinforced constructs were performed in flexion, extension, side bending, and torsion. Construct stiffness and screw-bending moments were recorded.

Results.

Transpedicular vertebral body reconstruction with hydroxyapatite cement reduced pedicle screw-bending moments by 59% in flexion and 38% in extension. Mean initial stiffness in the flexion-extension plane was increased by 40% (P < 0.05). There were no statistically significant differences in these parameters with lateral bending or torsional movements.

Conclusions.

This hydroxyapatite cement compound augments anterior column stability in a burst fracture model. This technique may improve outcomes in burst fracture patients without the need for a secondary anterior approach.

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