Utility of cement augmentation via percutaneous fenestrated pedicle screws for stabilization of cancer-related spinal instability

Ori Barzilai, Lily McLaughlin, Eric Lis, Anne S. Reiner, Mark H. Bilsky, Ilya Laufer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Cancer patients experience pathological fractures and the typical poor bone quality frequently complicates stabilization. Methods for overcoming screw failure include utilization of fenestrated screws that permit the injection of bone cement into the vertebral body to augment fixation. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the safety and efficacy of cement augmentation via fenestrated screws. METHODS: A retrospective chart review of patients with neoplastic spinal instability who underwent percutaneous instrumented stabilization with cement augmentation using fenestrated pedicle screws. Patient demographic and treatment data and intraoperative and postoperative complications were evaluated by chart review and radiographic evaluation. Prospectively collected patient reported outcomes (PRO) were evaluated at short (2- <6 mo) and long term (6-12 mo). RESULTS: Cement augmentation was performed in 216 fenestrated pedicle screws in 53 patients. Three patients required reoperation. One patient had an asymptomatic screw fracture at 6 mo postoperatively that did not require intervention. No cases of lucency around the pedicle screws, rod fractures, or cement extravasation into the spinal canal were observed. Eight cases of asymptomatic, radiographically-detected venous extravasation were found. Systemic complications included a pulmonary cement embolism, a lower extremity deep vein thrombosis, and a postoperative mortality secondary to pulmonary failure from widespread metastatic pulmonary infiltration. Significant improvement in PRO measures was found in short- and long-term analysis. CONCLUSION: Cement augmentation of pedicle screws is an effective method to enhance the durability of spinal constructs in the cancer population. Risks include cement extravasation into draining blood vessels, but risk of clinically significant extravasation appears to be exceedingly low.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)593-599
Number of pages7
JournalOperative Neurosurgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2019
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
National Institutes of Health
National Cancer InstituteP30CA008748


    • Cancer
    • Fenestrated screws
    • Instability
    • PMMA bone cement
    • Spinal instability
    • Spine
    • Stabilization
    • Tumor


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