Biomechanical analysis of pedicle screw thread differential design in an osteoporotic cadaver model

H. Mehta, Edward Rainier G Santos, Charles Gerald T Ledonio, Jonathan N Sembrano, Arin M Ellingson, P. Pare, B. Murrell, D. J. Nuckley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Background: Pedicle screw fixation, the standard surgical care for posterior stabilization in the thoraco-lumbar spine has a high rate of failure in osteoporotic individuals. Screw design factors and insertion techniques have been shown to influence the biomechanical performance of pedicle screws. Our objective was to investigate the biomechanical characteristics of pedicle screw fixation in osteoporotic bone by comparing standard screws with newly designed differential crest thickness dual lead screws. Methods: An in-vitro spinal-level paired factorial study design was used to examine thoraco-lumbar spine biomechanical outcomes for differential pedicle screw thread designs. Six cadaveric human spines (T8-L5) were tested for six groups (n = 20) consisting of 2 different crest thickness and 3 different insertion techniques. Bone mineral density was assessed and peak insertion torque measured while placing one screw of new design and control on the contralateral side. Screw pullout properties were measured from classical American Society for Testing and Materials protocols. Findings: The screws designed specifically for osteoporotic bone showed significantly larger insertion torque compared with the standard screw design irrespective of insertion technique. Much of the variability in pullout failure and stiffness was explained by bone mineral density. The osteoporotic screws of different crest thickness were statistically similar to each other in all outcome measures. Interpretation: Compared with standard pedicle screws, the dual lead osteoporotic-specific pedicle screws demonstrated significantly larger insertion torques and similar pullout properties. Non-significant increased biomechanical strength was observed for thin crest compared to thick crest dual lead pedicle screws indicating their enhanced purchase in osteoporotic bone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)234-240
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Biomechanics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was sponsored by Medtronic, Inc . The funding source did not influence study design, collection, analysis, and interpretation of data.


  • Biomechanics
  • Insertion torque
  • Pedicle screw
  • Screw pullout strength
  • Spine
  • Thread properties


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