Vertebroplasty is commonly used to treat vertebral wedge fractures (VWFs). However, differing degrees of vertebral height restoration (VHR) have been reported after vertebroplasty, and little is known about how grades (steepness) of VWF deformities affect loadings on the fractured and adjacent unfractured vertebrae. Therefore, the goal of this study was to create a non-linear finite element (FE) model of the T10-L2 thoracolumbar segments. With this model, we aimed to evaluate the biomechanical outcomes of three different collapse models (25%, 50%, and 75%) at the T12 vertebra before and after cement augmentation (CA) and with and without VHR. In these VWF simulations, the forces of the erector spinae, the intradiscal pressure, and the maximum von Mises stresses in the endplates and vertebral bodies increased as vertebral deformation increased. Performing CA alone, without restoring vertebral height for the fractured vertebra, did not change the stiffness of multiple spinal segments or the pressures on the adjacent disc, but it did decrease stresses on the endplates and the vertebral bone. A 10% restoration of vertebral height after CA reduced the maximum von Mises stress in the endplates and bone structures more than when CA did not restore vertebral height (no VHR). These results suggest that achieving partial VHR during vertebroplasty may help prevent postvertebroplasty fractures in the fractured and adjacent vertebrae.
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