Correlation of bone density to screw loosening in dynamic stabilization: an analysis of 176 patients

Hsuan Kan Chang, Jason Ku, Johnson Ku, Yi Hsuan Kuo, Chih Chang Chang, Ching Lan Wu, Jiing Feng Lirng, Jau Ching Wu, Wen Cheng Huang, Henrich Cheng, Shih Ming Hsu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Although osteoporosis has negative impacts on lumbar fusion, its effects on screw loosening in dynamic stabilization remain elusive. We aimed to correlate bone mineral density (BMD) with screw loosening in Dynesys dynamic stabilization (DDS). Consecutive patients who underwent 2- or 3-level DDS for spondylosis, recurrent disc herniations, or low-grade spondylolisthesis at L3-5 were retrospectively reviewed. BMD was assessed by the Hounsfield Unit (HU) in vertebral bodies (VB) and pedicles with and without cortical bone (CB) on pre-operative computed tomography (CT). Screw loosening was assessed by radiographs and confirmed by CT. HU values were compared between the loosened and intact screws. 176 patients and 918 screws were analyzed with 78 loosened screws found in 36 patients (mean follow-up: 43.4 months). The HU values of VB were similar in loosened and intact screws (p = 0.14). The HU values of pedicles were insignificantly less in loosened than intact screws (including CB: 286.70 ± 118.97 vs. 297.31 ± 110.99, p = 0.45; excluding CB: 238.48 ± 114.90 vs. 240.51 ± 108.91, p = 0.88). All patients had clinical improvements. In conclusion, the HU values, as a surrogate for BMD, were unrelated to screw loosening in DDS. Therefore, patients with compromised BMD might be potential candidates for dynamic stabilization rather than fusion.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17519
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


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