Spinal bone density following spinal fusion

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1989 Apr;14(4):477-9. doi: 10.1097/00007632-198904000-00028.


Spinal bone densities were assessed in 25 patients following lumbar fusion and bracing, in an attempt to study bone remodeling by noninvasive methods. Dual-photon densitometry was used to study specific areas of autologous bone grafts and adjacent vertebrae above the fusion mass. Measurements were made preoperatively and at 6-week intervals postoperatively. The data for the first 12 months postoperatively are reported here. In all patients there was at first a consistent loss in density in the vertebrae above the fusion mass, averaging 15.7%. This was followed by a gradual density increase such that by 1 year postoperatively, in 60% of the subjects, the density of these vertebrae was higher than the preoperative level. In the grafted areas, bone changes were cyclical, demonstrating a remodeling pattern consistent with that described in animal literature for graft healing and also consistent with modern bone remodeling theory. There was a general tendency toward a gradual increase in the density of the fusion mass.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bone Development
  • Bone Resorption
  • Bone Transplantation
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / physiology
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Care
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Spinal Fusion*
  • Time Factors
  • Transplantation, Autologous