B. Sandén, Claes Olerud, Carina Johansson, Sune Larsson

December 2000, Volume 9, Issue 6, pp 534 - 537 Original article Read Full Article 10.1007/s005860000180

First Online: 11 December 2000

Loosening of the screws is a problem in instrumentation with pedicle screws. Coating with hydroxyapatite improves the holding characteristics for metal implants, but the possible effects on the anchorage of pedicle screws have not been described. In this study, seven patients were operated on with spinal instrumentation using four stainless steel pedicle screws. Hydroxyapatite-coated screws were used in either the upper or the lower of the instrumented levels. The insertion torque was measured. In four cases the screws were removed after 10–22 months and the extraction torque was measured. The mean insertion torque was found to be significantly greater in the hydroxyapatite-coated screws (107 Ncm) than in the standard screws (76 Ncm). In three cases, the extraction torque for the hydroxyapatite-coated screws exceeded the range for the torque wrench (600 Ncm), while the conventional screws were loose (< 5 Ncm). In one case, the extraction torque was 475 and 550 Ncm for the coated screws, and 5 and 25 Ncm for the conventional screws. The difference in extraction torque was significant. Hydroxyapatite coating was shown to have improved the purchase of pedicle screws very effectively. By using fully coated screws, as in the present study, extraction was extremely difficult compared to extraction of conventional stainless steel screws, which were regularly loose. By reducing the area of the screws that is coated, it may be possible to achieve an enhanced purchase while extraction will be easier when compared to fully coated screws.

Read Full Article