Bone graft substitutes and bone morphogenetic proteins for osteoporotic fractures: what is the evidence?
Most osteoporotic vertebral fractures (OVFs) can be treated successfully with conservative methods. In about 10% of patients, nonunion develops and warrants surgical management with minimally invasive procedures such as vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty. Nevertheless, for patients with nonunion fractures that involve the posterior vertebral body wall, vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are relatively contraindicated due to the risk of extravertebral polymethylmethacrylate cement leakage through vertebral fracture cracks. To this end, we developed a method for pedicle screw fixation combined with transpedicular bone grafting for such a condition. Briefly, after posterior pedicle screw fixation and reduction in the affected vertebra, the demineralized bone matrix was inserted into the vertebral body via a ‘bone grafting funnel’ created through the pedicle of the affected vertebra. The current retrospective study analysed the safety and efficacy of this approach. A total of 12 patients who fulfilled the criteria were treated with this procedure. Visual analogue scale scores for back pain and anterior vertebral heights were recorded. At 3-month follow-up, pain was significantly relieved compared with presurgery and the anterior vertebral heights were successfully restored and maintained. In conclusion, short-segment pedicle instrumentation combined with transpedicular bone grafting is a useful alternative in the treatment of nonunion of OVFs with loss of posterior edge integrity.