Cement distribution, volume, and compliance in vertebroplasty: Some answers from an anatomy-based nonlinear finite element study

Yan Chevalier*, Dieter Pahr, Mathieu Charlebois, Paul Heini, Erich Schneider, Philippe Zysset

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

96 Citations (Scopus)


Study Design. The biomechanics of vertebral bodies augmented with real distributions of cement were investigated using nonlinear finite element (FE) analysis. ObjectiveS. To compare stiffness, strength, and stress transfer of augmented versus nonaugmented osteoporotic vertebral bodies under compressive loading. Specifically, to examine how cement distribution, volume, and compliance affect these biomechanical variables. Summart of Background Data. Previous FE studies suggested that vertebroplasty might alter vertebral stress transfer, leading to adjacent vertebral failure. However, no FE study so far accounted for real cement distributions and bone damage accumulation. Methods. Twelve vertebral bodies scanned with high-resolution pQCT and tested in compression were augmented with various volumes of cements and scanned again. Nonaugmented and augmented pQCT datasets were converted to FE models, with bone properties modeled with an elastic, plastic and damage constitutive law that was previously calibrated for the nonaugmented models. The cement-bone composite was modeled with a rule of mixture. The nonaugmented and augmented FE models were subjected to compression and their stiffness, strength, and stress map calculated for different cement compliances. Results. Cement distribution dominated the stiffening and strengthening effects of augmentation. Models with cement connecting either the superior or inferior endplate (S/I fillings) were only up to 2 times stiffer than the nonaugmented models with minimal strengthening, whereas those with cement connecting both endplates (S + I fillings) were 1 to 8 times stiffer and 1 to 12 times stronger. Stress increases above and below the cement, which was higher for the S + I cases and was significantly reduced by increasing cement compliance. Conclusion. The developed FE approach, which accounts for real cement distributions and bone damage accumulation, provides a refined insight into the mechanics of augmented vertebral bodies. In particular, augmentation with compliant cement bridging both endplates would reduce stress transfer while providing sufficient strengthening.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1722-1730
Number of pages9
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Neurology (clinical)


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