Importance of bone mineral density in instrumented spine fusions

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1991 Jun;16(6):647-52. doi: 10.1097/00007632-199106000-00009.


The effect of equivalent mineral density on pedicular screw fixation strength was investigated. The equivalent mineral density of human vertebral bodies was correlated highly with the pullout force of Kluger screws (r2 = 0.61, P less than 0.02). A moderate to high correlation existed between density and vertical force (r2 = 0.42 for Kluger screws, r2 = 0.55 for Steffee screws, P less than 0.02). In calf vertebral bodies of higher density (146 +/- 14 mg/cc), the forces were significantly higher than in the human vertebral bodies (P less than 0.05). Human lumbosacral spines were instrumented with three different fixators: Steffee plates, AO fixateur interne, and Kluger fixateur interne. Of five specimens with a mean density of 88 +/- 11 mg/cc, one screw loosened. More than one screw loosened in six specimens with a mean density of 63 +/- 12 mg/cc, and no screw loosened in four specimens with a mean density of 114 +/- 38 mg/cc. Measurement of equivalent mineral density correlates with the fixation strength of the intrapedicular screws in vitro and should be considered in patients with signs of osteopenia before using pedicular screws for spinal fusions. It is also concluded that calf spines are a good model for testing implants because they tend to focus failure processes in the implant rather than in the implant-bone interface.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Bone Density / physiology*
  • Bone Screws
  • Cattle
  • Humans
  • Internal Fixators*
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / physiology
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / surgery*
  • Sacrum / physiology
  • Sacrum / surgery*
  • Spinal Fusion*