Metastatic diseases and infections frequently involve the spine. This is the result of seeding of the vertebral body by tumor cells or bacteria delivered by venous blood from Batsons plexus, which is hypothesized to enter the vertebral body via the epidural veins. Isolated spinal segments deform significantly at the bony end plate when under compression. This deformation could cause a volume change of the vertebral body and may be accompanied by retrograde flow of venous blood. The purpose of this study was to determine the volume changes of the vertebral body and basivertebral vein for a vertebral body under compression. This study quantified the small but significant volume change of a modeled vertebral body and cross-sectional areas and that of the basivertebral vein, due to the inward bulging of the end plate under compression. This volume change could initiate the reverse flow of blood from the epidural venous system and cause seeding of tumors or bacterial cells.
Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research 2006, 1:18