Anterior cement augmentation of adjacent levels after vertebral body replacement leads to superior stability of the corpectomy cage under cyclic loading-a biomechanical investigation

Spine J. 2018 Mar;18(3):525-531. doi: 10.1016/j.spinee.2017.10.068. Epub 2017 Nov 21.


Background: In the operative treatment of osteoporotic vertebral body fractures, a dorsal stabilization in combination with a corpectomy of the fractured vertebral body might be necessary with respect to the fracture morphology, whereby the osteoporotic bone quality may possibly increase the risk of implant failure. To achieve better stability, it is recommended to use cement-augmented screws for dorsal instrumentation. Besides careful end plate preparation, cement augmentation of the adjacent end plates has also been reported to lead to less reduction loss.

Purpose: The aim of the study was to evaluate biomechanically under cyclic loading whether an additional cement augmentation of the adjacent end plates leads to improved stability of the inserted cage.

Study design/setting: Methodical cadaver study.

Materials and methods: Fourteen fresh frozen human thoracic spines with proven osteoporosis were used (T2-T7). After removal of the soft tissues, the spine was embedded in Technovit (Kulzer, Germany). Subsequently, a corpectomy of T5 was performed, leaving the dorsal ligamentary structures intact. After randomization with respect to bone quality, two groups were generated: Dorsal instrumentation (cemented pedicle screws, Medtronic, Minneapolis, MN, USA)+cage implantation (CAPRI Corpectomy Cage, K2M, Leesburg, VA, USA) without additional cementation of the adjacent endplates (Group A) and dorsal instrumentation+cage implantation with additional cement augmentation of the adjacent end plates (Group B). The subsequent axial and cyclic loading was performed at a frequency of 1 Hz, starting at 400 N and increasing the load within 200 N after every 500 cycles up to a maximum of 2,200 N. Load failure was determined when the cages sintered macroscopically into the end plates (implant failure) or when the maximum load was reached.

Results: One specimen in Group B could not be clamped appropriately into the test bench for axial loading because of a pronounced scoliotic misalignment and had to be excluded. The mean strength for implant failure was 1,000 N±258.2 N in Group A (no cement augmentation of the adjacent end plates, n=7); on average, 1,622.1±637.6 cycles were achieved. In Group B (cement augmentation of the adjacent end plates, n=6), the mean force at the end of loading was 1,766.7 N±320.4 N; an average of 3,572±920.6 cycles was achieved. Three specimens reached a load of 2,000 N. The differences between the two groups were significant (p=.006 and p=.0047) regarding load failure and number of cycles.

Conclusions: Additional cement augmentation of the adjacent end plates during implantation of a vertebral body replacement in osteoporotic bone resulted in a significant increased stability of the cage in the axial cyclic loading test.

Keywords: Cage subsidence; Cement augmentation; Corpectomy; Fracture; Osteoporosis; Spine.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Bone Cements / adverse effects*
  • Bone Plates / adverse effects
  • Cementation / adverse effects
  • Cementation / methods*
  • Humans
  • Osteoporotic Fractures / surgery*
  • Pedicle Screws / adverse effects
  • Spinal Fractures / surgery*
  • Spinal Fusion / adverse effects
  • Spinal Fusion / methods*


  • Bone Cements