Introduction Percutaneous pedicle screw (PPS) can provide internal fixation of the thoracolumbar spine through a minimally invasive surgical procedure. PPS fixation has been widely used to treat various spinal diseases. Rigid fixation of PPS is essential for managing osteoporotic spine in order to prevent the risks of screw loosening and implant failure. We recently developed a novel augmentation method using hydroxyapatite (HA) granules for PPS fixation. The aim of this study was to evaluate the strength and stiffness of PPS fixation augmented with HA granules using an osteoporotic bone model. Methods Screws were inserted into uniform synthetic bone (sawbones) with and without augmentation. The uniaxial pullout strength and insertion torque of the screws were evaluated. In addition, each screw underwent cyclic toggling under incrementally increasing physiological loads until 2 mm of screwhead displacement occurred. The maximal pullout strength (N), maximal insertion torque (Ncm), number of toggle cycles and maximal load (N) required to achieve 2-mm screwhead displacement were compared between the screws with and without augmentation. Results The maximal pullout strength was significantly stronger for screws with augmentation than for those without augmentation (302 ± 19 N vs. 254 ± 17 N, p < 0.05). In addition, the maximal insertion torque was significantly increased in screws with augmentation compared to those without augmentation (48 ± 4 Ncm vs. 26 ± 5 Ncm, p < 0.05). Furthermore, the number of toggle cycles and the maximal load required to reach 2 mm of displacement were significantly greater in screws with augmentation than in those without augmentation (106 ± 9 vs. 52 ± 10 cycles; 152 ± 4 N vs. 124 ± 5 N, p < 0.05). Conclusions Augmentation using HA granules significantly enhanced the rigidity of PPS fixation in the osteoporotic bone model. The present study suggested that novel augmentation with HA granules may be a useful technique for PPS fixation in patients with osteoporotic spine.
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