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The Value of Cement Augmentation in Patients With Diminished Bone Quality Undergoing Thoracolumbar Fusion Surgery: A Review

Joshua M Kolz 1Brett A Freedman 1Ahmad N Nassr 1

Global Spine J. 2021 Apr;11(1_suppl):37S-44S.

 doi: 10.1177/2192568220965526.


Study design: Systematic review.

Objectives: Osteoporosis predisposes patients undergoing thoracolumbar (TL) fusion to complications and revision surgery. Cement augmentation (CA) improves fixation of pedicle screws to reduce these complications. The goal of this study was to determine the value and cost-effectiveness of CA in TL fusion surgery.

Methods: A systematic literature review was performed using an electronic database search to identify articles discussing the cost or value of CA. As limited information was available, the review was expanded to determine the mean cost of primary TL fusion, revision TL fusion, and the prevalence of revision TL fusion to determine the decrease of revision surgery necessary to make CA cost-effective.

Results: Two studies were identified discussing the cost and value of CA. The mean cost of CA for two vertebral levels was $10 508, while primary TL fusion was $87 346 and revision TL fusion was $76 825. Using a mean revision rate of 15.4%, the use of CA for TL fusion would need to decrease revision rates by 13.7% to be cost-effective. Comparison studies showed a decreased revision rate of 11.3% with CA, which approaches this value.

Conclusion: CA for TL fusion surgery improves biomechanical fixation of pedicle screws and decreases complications and revision surgery in patients with diminished bone quality. The costs of CA are substantial and reported decreases in revision rates approach but do not reach the calculated value to be a cost-effective technique. Future studies will need to focus on the optimal CA technique to decrease complications, revisions, and costs.