Evaluation of early tissue reactions after lumbar intertransverse process fusion using CT in a rabbit

Shinbo, Jun ; Mainil-Varlet, Pierre ; Watanabe, Atsuya ; Pippig, Suzanne ; Koener, Jens ; Anderson, Suzanne

In: Skeletal Radiology, 2010, vol. 39, no. 4, p. 369-373

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    Objective: The objective of the study was to evaluate tissue reactions such as bone genesis, cartilage genesis and graft materials in the early phase of lumbar intertransverse process fusion in a rabbit model using computed tomography (CT) imaging with CT intensity (Hounsfield units) measurement, and to compare these data with histological results. Materials and methods: Lumbar intertransverse process fusion was performed on 18 rabbits. Four graft materials were used: autograft bone (n = 3); collagen membrane soaked with recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 (rhBMP-2) (n = 5); granular calcium phosphate (n = 5); and granular calcium phosphate coated with rhBMP-2 (n = 5). All rabbits were euthanized 3weeks post-operatively and lumbar spines were removed for CT imaging and histological examination. Results: Computed tomography imaging demonstrated that each fusion mass component had the appropriate CT intensity range. CT also showed the different distributions and intensities of bone genesis in the fusion masses between the groups. Each component of tissue reactions was identified successfully on CT images using the CT intensity difference. Using CT color mapping, these observations could be easily visualized, and the results correlated well with histological findings. Conclusions: The use of CT intensity is an effective approach for observing and comparing early tissue reactions such as newly synthesized bone, newly synthesized cartilage, and graft materials after lumbar intertransverse process fusion in a rabbit model