Osteoporosis represents the most common metabolic disease of the bone, with an estimated 10% of adults aged 50 years or older affected in the United States. This patient population is at increased risk for spine fracture and instrumentation-related complications after spine surgery. Surgeon knowledge of the available treatments for patients with low bone mineral density (BMD) and how they impact biology of fusion may help mitigate negative effects in the postoperative period. Recombinant parathyroid hormone, which is sold under the name teriparatide, is the most extensively studied bone-protecting agent in humans. Additionally, the success of the monoclonal antibody denosumab has led to further clinical investigations of human patients undergoing spine surgery. Another monoclonal antibody, romosozumab, was recently approved by the US FDA for human use in patients with osteoporosis. Although studies of romosozumab in patients undergoing spine surgery have not been conducted, this is a promising potential therapeutic agent based on its early success in preclinical and clinical trials. Here, the authors aimed to review the mechanisms of action and evidence of use of antiresorptive and anabolic agents in patients with osteoporosis undergoing spine surgery.
In accordance with the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines, a systematic review was conducted to explore the antiresorptive and anabolic agents used in the perioperative period in patients with osteoporosis undergoing spinal surgery. The search was performed by using the PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane Library databases. Titles and abstracts were screened and subsequently selected for full review.
The initial search returned 330 articles. Of these articles, 23 final articles were included and reviewed. Many of these articles reported that use of adjuvant agents in the perioperative period improved radiographic evidence of bony fusion and bone fusion rates. These agents tended to improve BMD postoperatively.
Although antiosteoporosis agents are effective to varying degrees as treatments of patients with low BMD, teriparatide and bisphosphonates have been the most extensively studied with respect to spinal instrumentation. The advent of newer agents represents an area for further exploration, especially due to the current paucity of controlled investigations. It is imperative for spine surgeons to understand the mechanisms of action of these drugs and their effects on biology of fusion.