Selective cement augmentation of cranial and caudal pedicle screws provides comparable stability to augmentation on all segments in the osteoporotic spine: a finite element analysis


Cement-augmented pedicle screw instrumentation (CAPSI) has been proven to significantly increase the biomechanical stability in the osteoporotic lumbar spine. However, besides the merits, it is responsible for the inevitable cement leakage growing with more instrumented segments and volumes involved. This study aimed to compare the biomechanical performance of pedicle screws augmented on all segments with those augmented only on the cranial and caudal vertebrae selectively.


The finite element model of L3-S1 was modeled with the CT data of a healthy volunteer, the solid/fenestrated pedicle screws from micro-CT scans of physical screws, and bone cement from the CT scans of a postoperative patient with CAPSI. Three different augmented strategies for pedicle screws were taken into consideration: augmentation at each pedicle trajectory (Model A), selective augmentation at the cranial and caudal pedicle trajectories (Model B), and pedicle trajectories without augmentation (Model C). A total of six surgical models were constructed: Models A, B, and C were subdivided into double segmental fusion from L4 to S1 (Models A1, B1, and C1) and multi-segment fusion from L3 to S1 (Models A2, B2, and C2). The Range of motion (ROM), stress on the cage, and stress on the fixed segments were compared among the six models.


The ROM at the fusion segments decreased in all instrumentation models. The ROMs of Model B and Model A are similar in each direction, while that of Model C is significantly larger. The differences in the ROMs between Model A and Model B were noted to be less than 0.1°. Compared with Models A1 and A2, the peak Von Mise stress on the cage-endplate interface and pedicle screws were slightly higher in Models B1 and B2. In contrast, the stress of Models C1 and C2 increased significantly. The compressive stress was concentrated in the screw head, the cranial and caudal screws, and rods.


The selective augmentation of pedicle screws is capable of providing reliable stability in short-segment posterior fixation (2- or 3-level). It could be a potential optimal procedure to minimize the associated complications of CAPSI.


Cement augmentation; finite element analysis; osteoporotic spine; pedicle screw augmentation.

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