Purpose Vertebroplasty restores stiffness and strength of fractured vertebral bodies, but alters their stress transfer. This unwanted effect may be reduced by using more compliant cements. However, systematic experimental comparison of structural properties between standard and low-modulus augmentation needs to be done. This study investigated how standard and low-modulus cement augmentation affects apparent stiffness, strength, and endplate pressure distribution of vertebral body sections. Methods Thirty-nine human thoracolumbar vertebral body sections were prepared by removing cortical endplates and posterior elements. The specimens were scanned with a HR-pQCT system and loaded in the elastic range. After augmentation with standard or low-modulus cement they were scanned again and tested in two steps. First, the contact pressure distribution between specimen and loading plates was measured with pressure-sensitive films. Then, they were loaded again in the elastic range and compressed until failure. Apparent stiffness was compared before and after augmentation, whereas apparent strength of augmented specimens was compared to a nonaugmented reference group. Results Vertebral body sections with fillings connecting both endplates were on average 33% stiffer and 47% stronger with standard cement, and 27% stiffer and 30% stronger with low-modulus cement. In contrast, partial fillings showed no significant strengthening for both cements and only a slight stiffness increase (\16%). The averaged endplate pressure above/below the cement was on average 15% lower with low-modulus cement compared to standard cement. Conclusion Augmentation connecting both endplates significantly strengthened and stiffened vertebral body sections also with low-modulus cement. A trend of reduced pressure concentrations above/below the cement was observed with low-modulus cement.
- Mechanical properties
- Vertebral body
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine