Percutaneous Vertebroplasty as a Treatment for Osteoporotic Compression Fractures

x-ray image of a compresson fractureHow safe and effective is percutaneous vertebroplasty (PV) in the treatment of patients suffering from osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures (OVCFs) adjacent to circumferential fusion? A team led by researchers at E-Da Hospital in Taiwan conducted a retrospective study to answer this question.

In particular, the researchers were interested in OVCF management after a patient had undergone spinal fusion surgery for degenerative lumbar disease. Their study, “Clinical evaluation of percutaneous vertebroplasty for symptomatic adjacent vertebral compression fracture,” was published online ahead of print in October 2012. It appears in the Journal of Spinal Disorders and Techniques.

The researchers looked at data on 23 patients who had lumbar instrumented circumferential fusion. All of the patients also had adjacent OVCFs. The patients were treated using PV at the researchers’ institute.

The study authors used radiography and magnetic resonance imaging to assess the patients’ conditions, and the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) and modified Brodsky’s criteria were used both before and following treatment. All of the patients were followed up with between 18 and 45 months after their surgery. In 18 of the study participants, 1 level PV was used; 2 levels were used in the remaining 5 patients.

The results of the study showed that the participants’ VAS scores went up by an average of 54.3 points following PV. Additionally, of the 23 patients included in the study, 20 patients were able to resume many of their normal daily activities after their treatment. Besides cement leakage in 4 of the participants (which occurred without the appearance of additional symptoms), the researchers did not find any further complications related to the surgeries.

The study authors argue that their results demonstrate that percutaneous vertebroplasty is a safe, effective, and minimally invasive treatment option for patients that suffer from OVCFs adjacent to spinal fusion surgery for degenerative lumbar disease.

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