Spine Surgery and Related Research
Online ISSN : 2432-261X
ISSN-L : 2432-261X
A Bicortical Pedicle Screw In The Cephalad Trajectory Is The Best Option For The Fixation Of An Osteoporotic Vertebra: A Finite Element Study
Akimasa MurataShunji TsutsuiEi YamamotoTakuhei KozakiRyuichiro NakanishiHiroshi Yamada
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JOURNAL OPEN ACCESS Advance online publication

Article ID: 2023-0249


Introduction: Pedicle screws are commonly used in fixation to treat various spinal disorders. However, screw loosening is a prevalent complication, particularly in patients with osteoporosis. Various biomechanical studies have sought to address this issue, but the optimal depth and trajectory to increase the fixation strength of pedicle screws remain controversial. Therefore, a biomechanical study was conducted using finite element models.

Methods: Three-dimensional finite element models of the L3 vertebrae were developed from the preoperative computed tomography images of nine patients with osteoporosis and nine patients without who underwent spine surgery. Unicortical and bicortical pedicle screws were inserted into the center and into the anterior wall of the vertebrae, respectively, in different trajectories in the sagittal plane: straightforward, cephalad, and caudal. Subsequently, three different external loads were applied to each pedicle screw at the entry point: axial pullout, craniocaudal, and lateromedial loads. Nonlinear analysis was conducted to examine the fixation strength of the pedicle screws.

Results: Irrespective of osteoporosis, the bicortical pedicle screws had greater fixation strength than the unicortical pedicle screws in all trajectories and external loads. The fixation strength of the bicortical pedicle screws was not substantially different among the trajectories against any external loads in the nonosteoporotic vertebrae. However, the fixation strength of the bicortical pedicle screws against craniocaudal load in the cephalad trajectory was considerably greater than those in the caudal (P = 0.016) and straightforward (P = 0.023) trajectories in the osteoporotic vertebrae. However, this trend was not observed in pullout and lateromedial loads.

Conclusions: Our results indicate that bicortical pedicle screws should be used, regardless of whether the patient has osteoporosis or not. Furthermore, pedicle screws should be inserted in the cephalad trajectory in patients with osteoporosis.

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© 2024 The Japanese Society for Spine Surgery and Related Research.

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