The biomechanics of vertebroplasty. The effect of cement volume on mechanical behavior

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2001 Jul 15;26(14):1537-41. doi: 10.1097/00007632-200107150-00007.


Study design: Ex vivo biomechanical study using osteoporotic cadaveric vertebral bodies.

Objective: To determine the association between the volume of cement injected during percutaneous vertebroplasty and the restoration of strength and stiffness in osteoporotic vertebral bodies, two investigational cements were studied: Orthocomp (Orthovita, Malvern, PA) and Simplex 20 (Simplex P with 20% by weight barium sulfate content; Stryker-Howmedica-Osteonics, Rutherford, NJ).

Summary of background data: Previous biomechanical studies have shown that injections of 8-10 mL of cement during vertebroplasty restore or increase vertebral body strength and stiffness; however, the dose-response association between cement volume and restoration of strength and stiffness is unknown.

Methods: Compression fractures were experimentally created in 144 vertebral bodies (T6-L5) obtained from 12 osteoporotic spines harvested from female cadavers. After initial strength and stiffness were determined, the vertebral bodies were stabilized using bipedicular injections of cement totaling 2, 4, 6, or 8 mL and recompressed, after which post-treatment strength and stiffness were measured. Strength and stiffness were considered restored when post-treatment values were not significantly different from initial values.

Results: Strength was restored for all regions when 2 mL of either cement was injected. To restore stiffness with Orthocomp, the thoracic and thoracolumbar regions required 4 mL, but the lumbar region required 6 mL. To restore stiffness with Simplex 20, the thoracic and lumbar regions required 4 mL, but the thoracolumbar region required 8 mL.

Conclusion: These data provide guidance on the cement volumes needed to restore biomechanical integrity to compressed osteoporotic vertebral bodies.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over*
  • Bone Cements / therapeutic use*
  • Bone Density / physiology
  • Cadaver
  • Compressive Strength / drug effects
  • Compressive Strength / physiology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal / methods*
  • Humans
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / injuries
  • Materials Testing
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / surgery*
  • Pliability / drug effects
  • Polymethyl Methacrylate / therapeutic use
  • Radiography
  • Spinal Fractures / surgery*
  • Thoracic Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging
  • Thoracic Vertebrae / injuries


  • Bone Cements
  • Polymethyl Methacrylate