Study design: Comparative ex vivobiomechanical study.
Objectives: To determine the strength and stiffness of osteoporotic vertebral bodies subjected to compression fractures and subsequently stabilized via bipedicular injection of one of two bone cements: one is a commercially available polymethylmethacrylate (Simplex P) and one is a proprietary glass-ceramic-reinforced BisGMA/BisEMA/TEGDMA matrix composite that is being developed for use in vertebroplasty (Orthocomp).
Summary of background data: Osteoporotic compression fractures present diagnostic and therapeutic challenges for the clinician. Vertebroplasty, a new technique for treating such fractures, stabilizes vertebral bodies by injection of cement. Little is known, however, about the biomechanics of this treatment.
Methods: Five vertebral bodies (L1-L5) from each of four fresh spines were harvested from female cadavers (age, 80 +/- 5 years), screened for bone density using DEXA (t = -3.4 to -6.4), disarticulated, and compressed in a materials testing machine to determine initial strength and stiffness. The fractures then were repaired using a transpedicular injection of either Orthocomp or Simplex P and recrushed.
Results: For both cement treatments, vertebral body strength after injection of cement was significantly greater than initial strength values. Vertebral bodies augmented with Orthocomp recovered their initial stiffness; however, vertebral bodies augmented with Simplex P were significantly less stiff than they were in their initial condition.
Conclusions: Augmentation with Orthocomp results in similar or greater mechanical properties compared with Simplex P, but these biomechanical results have yet to be substantiated in clinical studies.