08:03 AM

New bone density assessment may better predict poor spinal fusion outcomes

Becker’s Spine Review reports on an HSS study led by endocrinologist and bone specialist Emily Margaret Stein, MD, with spine surgeons Han Jo Kim, MD, Matthew E. Cunningham MD, PhD, and Frank Schwab, MD, using a novel method for evaluating bone density that may be able to more accurately predict which patients would have poor outcomes after spinal fusion.

The researchers used high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HR-pQCT) to measure bone quality in patients undergoing spinal fusion, versus the more traditional method of x-ray absorptiometry (DXA). The study took DXA and HR-pQCT scans of the radius and leg bone in 54 men and women undergoing spinal fusion between December 2017 and December 2019. Fourteen patients had complications within the first six months of surgery, including broken rods, loosened bone screws, fractures and abnormal bending of the spine. The researchers found patients with abnormalities on HR-pQCT were more likely to have complications than those without such defects, abnormalities not evident using DXA. Abnormalities included lower bone mineral density in the trabeculae, fewer and thinner trabeculae and thinner cortices.

Read the full story at Beckersspine.com.

Additional coverage: Healio.com/news/orthopedics, Consumer.healthday.com