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J Neurosurg Spine. 2016 Nov;25(5):610-619. Epub 2016 Jun 17.

Surgical treatment of degenerative and traumatic spinal diseases with expandable screws in patients with osteoporosis: 2-year follow-up clinical study.

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Department of Neurosurgery, San Giovanni Addolorata Hospital, Rome, Italy.


OBJECTIVE Pedicle screw instrumentation of the osteoporotic spine carries an increased risk of screw loosening, pullout, and fixation failure. A variety of techniques have been used clinically to improve pedicle screw fixation in the presence of compromised bone. Pedicle screws may be augmented with cement, but this may lead to cement leakage and result in disastrous consequences. To avoid these complications, a multiaxial expandable pedicle screw has been developed. This was a prospective, single-center study designed to evaluate the clinical results of patients with osteoporosis with traumatic and degenerative spinal diseases treated with expandable pedicle screws. METHODS Thirty-three patients (mean age 61.4 years) with osteoporosis and traumatic or degenerative spinal diseases underwent spinal posterior fixation with expandable screws. Preoperative and postoperative visual analog scale (VAS) for pain and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) questionnaire scores were obtained. The immediate postoperative screw position was measured and compared with the final position on lateral plain radiographs and axial CT scans at the 1- and 2-year follow-up examinations. RESULTS A total of 182 pedicle screws were used, including 174 expandable and 8 regular screws. The mean preoperative patient VAS score improved from 8.2 to 3.6 after surgery. The mean ODI score improved from 83.7% before surgery to 29.7% after the operation and to 36.1% at the final follow-up. No screw migration had occurred at the 1-year follow-up, but 1 screw breakage/migration was visualized on spinal radiography at the 2-year follow-up. CONCLUSIONS The results of this study show that the multiaxial expandable pedicle screw is a safe and practical technique for patients with osteoporosis and various spinal diseases and adds a valuable tool to the armamentarium of spinal instrumentation.


BMD = bone mineral density; CaP = calcium phosphate; DEXA = dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry; ODI = Oswestry Disability Index; OsseoScrew; PMMA = polymethylmethacrylate; VAS = visual analog scale; degenerative spinal disease; expandable pedicle screw; listhesis; lumbar osteoporosis; osteopenic vertebra; spinal fixation; spinal fracture; technique; vertebral fracture

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