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The effects of zoledronic acid and hyperbaric oxygen on posterior lumbar fusion in a rabbit model

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We studied the effects of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) and zoledronic acid (ZA) on posterior lumbar fusion using a validated animal model. A total of 40 New Zealand white rabbits underwent posterior lumbar fusion at L5–6 with autogenous iliac bone grafting. They were divided randomly into four groups as follows: group 1, control; group 2, HBO (2.4 atm for two hours daily); group 3, local ZA (20 μg of ZA mixed with bone graft); and group 4, combined HBO and local ZA. All the animals were killed six weeks after surgery and the fusion segments were subjected to radiological analysis, manual palpation, biomechanical testing and histological examination.

Five rabbits died within two weeks of operation. Thus, 35 rabbits (eight in group 1 and nine in groups 2, 3 and 4) completed the study. The rates of fusion in groups 3 and 4 (p = 0.015) were higher than in group 1 (p < 0.001) in terms of radiological analysis and in group 4 was higher than in group 1 with regard to manual palpation (p = 0.015). We found a statistically significant difference in the biomechanical analysis between groups 1 and 4 (p = 0.024). Histological examination also showed a statistically significant difference between groups 1 and 4 (p = 0.036).

Our results suggest that local ZA combined with HBO may improve the success rate in posterior lumbar spinal fusion.

Correspondence should be sent to Professor A. Öztürk; e-mail: ozturkalp@mynet.com

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