, Volume 130, Issue 6, pp 765-774

Indications and contraindications for vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty

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Vertebral fractures (VF) are a leading cause of morbidity in the elderly. In the past decade, minimally invasive bone augmentation techniques for VF, such as percutaneous vertebroplasty (VP) and kyphoplasty (KP) have become more widespread. According to the literature, both techniques provide significant pain relief. However, KP is more expensive and technically more demanding than VP. The current study surveyed German surgeons who practice percutaneous augmentation to evaluate and compare decisions regarding the implementation of these techniques. Is there a difference in the indications and contraindications of VP and KP compared with the interdisciplinary consensus paper on VP and KP of the German medical association in the treatment of VF?


A multiple choice questionnaire was designed with questions regarding diagnostic procedures, clinical and radiologic (AO classification) indications, as well as contraindications for both VP and KP. A panel of five experts refined the initial questionnaire. The final version was then sent to 580 clinics registered to practice KP in Germany. The statistical analysis was done by two authors, who collected the questionnaire data and Wilcoxon’s signed ranks test was performed for non-parametric variables with SPSS.


327 of 580 questionnaires (56.4%) were completed and returned. 151 (46.2%) of participants were performing both procedures, and 176 (53.8%) performed KP only. Median duration from onset of acute pain to intervention was 3 weeks. For most participants (95.4%), consistent back pain at the fracture level with a visual analog scale score over 5 was the main clinical indication for VP and KP. A1 and A3.1 fractures from osteoporosis and metastasis were considered indications for KP. Osteoporotic A1.1 fractures were an indication for VP. Traumatic A3.2 fractures were not an indication for either procedure. Major contraindications to both procedures were active infection (94.7%), cement allergy (86.8%), and coagulation disorders (80.3%).


Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty both have roles in the treatment of vertebral fractures. However, we could see differences in the indications for the two percutaneous techniques. Participants of this study found more indications for KP versus VP in cases of painful A1.2 and A3.1 fractures due to osteoporosis, metastasis, and trauma. About half of the respondents reported that VP is indicated for osteoporotic and pathologic A1.1 fractures. This study offers only limited conclusions. Open questionnaires and prospective data from all clinicians performing these procedures should be analyzed to offer more specific information.