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The intravertebral model consists of one cancellous bone core with standardized dimensions and provides an opportunity to look at interactions between bones and cement without their being influenced by other anatomical factors such as the presence of the vertebral shell. The more complex model of one vertebral body is used for evaluation of the biomechanical efficiency of the procedure in relation to regeneration of fractured vertebrae and prevention of further fractures. The purpose of the multisegment model is to analyze the effect of vertebroplasty on bordering structures.

Biomechanical cadaveric studies in spinal motion segments have shown that both the intravertebral disc and the endplates determine flexibility. For a nonaugmented joint, it has been reported that the intravertebral disc contributes approximately twothirds of the flexibility, and the endplates contribute approximately one-third, or about 15% per endplate [Brinckmann et al. 1983]. Vertebroplasty seems to alter normal joint loading through reinforcement of the vertebral body with rigid cement in a mechanism termed the pillar effect.

2001]. In this procedure, bone cement is injected under pressure through a cannula into the porous structure of the cancellous bone. The bone marrow is thereby displaced out of the cavities of the vertebra (Fig. 2). The in situ curing of the cement in these cavities strengthens the weakened vertebra [Heini et al. 2000, 2001; Jensen et al. 1997; Krause et al. 1982; Fig. 2. Pictures of a three-dimensional reconstruction of trabeculae of the spongiosa of healthy (A) and osteoporotic bone (B). The bone is depicted in turquoise, the bone marrow in violet 24 Mathis et al.

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