, Volume 12, Issue 2 Supplement, pp S155-S162
Date: 19 Sep 2003

Vertebroplasty for osteoporotic spine fracture: prevention and treatment

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Abstract

There is a relatively high prevalence of osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures (VCFs) in the elderly population, especially in women aged 50 or older. The result of these VCFs is increased morbidity and mortality in the short and long term. Medical treatment of these fractures includes bed rest, orthotics, analgesic medication and time. Percutaneous vertebroplasty (PVP) consists of percutaneous injection of biomaterial, such as methylmethacrylate, into the VCF to produce stability and pain relief. Biomechanical testing has shown that PVP can restore strength and stiffness of the vertebral body to the pre-fracture levels. Clinical results show immediate and maintained pain relief in 70–95% of the patients. Possible major complications include cement leakage into the spinal canal or into the venous system. Additionally, percutaneous vertebroplasty may alter the normal loading behavior of the adjacent vertebral body, and there is an increased risk of adjacent segment VCF. Kyphoplasty is a new technique, which introduces a balloon into the vertebral body transpedicularly to reduce the VCF while creating a cavity for the cement injection. This technique has the benefit of kyphosis reduction as well as less cement leakage. Research continues into the development of injectable biomaterials that are resorbable and allow for new bone formation. Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are safe and effective in the treatment of osteoporotic VCFs. They may allow for a faster return to function, and thus avoid the morbidity associated with medical treatment.