Article Abstract

Early term effects of rhBMP-2 on pedicle screw fixation in a sheep model: histomorphometric and biomechanical analyses

Authors: Jeffrey M. Toth, Mei Wang, Chetan K. Patel, Akshi Arora


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.