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Early term effects of rhBMP-2 on pedicle screw fixation in a sheep model: histomorphometric and biomechanical analyses. J Spine Surg 2018 Sep;4(3):534-545



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BACKGROUND: The effects of recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 (rhBMP-2) on pedicle screw pullout force and its potential to improve spinal fixation have not previously been investigated. rhBMP-2 on an absorbable collagen sponge (ACS) carrier was delivered in and around cannulated and fenestrated pedicle screws in a sheep lumbar spine instability model. Two control groups (empty screw and ACS with buffer) were also evaluated. We hypothesized that rhBMP-2 could stimulate bone growth in and around the cannulated and fenestrated pedicle screws to improve early bone purchase.

METHODS: Eight skeletally mature sheep underwent destabilizing laminectomies at L2-L3 and L4-L5 followed by stabilization with pedicle screw and rod constructs. An ACS carrier was used to deliver 0.15 mg of rhBMP-2 within and around the cannulated and fenestrated titanium pedicle screws. Biomechanics and histomorphometry were used to evaluate the early term results at 6 and 12 postoperative weeks.

RESULTS: rhBMP-2 was unable to improve bony purchase of the cannulated and fenestrated pedicle screws compared to both control groups. Although rhBMP-2 groups had pullout forces that were less than both control groups, both rhBMP-2 groups had pullout force values exceeding 2,000 N, which was comparable to previously published results for unmodified pedicle screws. Significant differences in the percentages of bone in peri-screw tissues was not observed amongst the four treatment groups. Microradiography and quantitative histomorphometry showed that at 6 weeks, rhBMP-2 induced peri-screw remodeling regions containing peri-implant bone which was hypodense with respect to surrounding native trabeculae. A moderate correlation between biomechanical pullout variables and histomorphometry data was observed.

CONCLUSIONS: The design of the cannulated and fenestrated pedicle screw was able to facilitate new bone formation to achieve high pullout forces. However, delivery of rhBMP-2 should be carefully controlled to prevent excessive bone remodeling which could cause early screw loosening.

Author List

Toth JM, Wang M, Patel CK, Arora A


Jeffrey M. Toth PhD Professor in the Orthopaedic Surgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Mei Wang PhD Associate Professor in the Orthopaedic Surgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin