A. Boger, K. D. Wheeler, B. Schenk, P. F. Heini

September 2009, Volume 18, Issue 9, pp 1272 - 1278 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-009-1037-2

First Online: 29 May 2009

Percutaneous vertebroplasty, comprising an injection of polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) into vertebral bodies, is a practical procedure for the stabilization of osteoporotic compression fractures as well as other weakening lesions. Cement leakage is considered to be one of the major and most severe complications during percutaneous vertebroplasty. The viscosity of the material plays a key role in this context. In order to enhance the safety for the patient, a rheometer system was developed to measure the cement viscosity intraoperatively. For this development, it is of great importance to know the proper viscosity to start the procedure determined by experienced surgeons and the relation between the time period when different injection devices are used and the cement viscosity. The purpose of the study was to investigate the viscosity ranges for different injection systems during conventional vertebroplasty. Clinically observed viscosity values and related time periods showed high scattering. In order to get a better understanding of the clinical observations, cement viscosity during hardening at different ambient temperatures and by simulation of the body temperature was investigated in vitro. It could be concluded, that the direct viscosity assessment with a rheometer during vertebroplasty can help clinicians to define a lower threshold viscosity and thereby decrease the risk of leakage and make adjustments to their injection technique in real time. Secondly, the acceleration in hardening of PMMA-based cements at body temperature can be useful in minimizing leakages by addressing them with a short injection break.

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