The authors reviewed a retrospective case series of 74 patients with symptomatic pathological spine fractures treated with cement-augmented pedicle screws implanted with a percutaneous technique. The mean imaging follow-up was 11.3 months. Data on demographics, clinical outcomes, and complications were collected. Cement extravasation, spinal hardware integrity, and fusion rates were assessed on CT scans.
Among 50 patients with follow-up imaging, 23 patients (46%) showed facet joint fusion. The length of segmental stabilization was not a significant predictor of the occurrence of fusion. Pre- or postoperative radiation therapy, postoperative chemotherapy, and the location of spinal lesions did not have a statistically significant effect on the occurrence of fusion. Patients older than 60 years of age were more likely to have fusion across facet joints compared with younger patients. There was a significant difference in the mean visual analog scale pain score, with 6.28 preoperatively and 3.41 postoperatively, regardless of fusion status (p < 0.001). Cement extravasation was seen in 51% of the cohort, but in all instances, patients remained asymptomatic. Most importantly, the incidence of hardware failure was low (4%).
Percutaneous fixation with cement-augmented pedicle screws in patients with pathological spine fractures provides an improvement in mechanical back pain, with a low incidence of failure, and in some patients, spontaneous facet fusion was observed. Further research is necessary with regard to both short-term benefits and long-term outcomes.