Archives of Osteoporosis

, 13:47 | Cite as

Infection following percutaneous vertebral augmentation with polymethylmethacrylate

  • Jae-Woo Park
  • Sang-Min Park
  • Hui Jong Lee
  • Choon-Ki Lee
  • Bong-Soon Chang
  • Hyoungmin KimEmail author
Original Article



Although the incidence of infection following vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty is rare, postoperative infection and cement augmentation in preexistent spondylitis can cause life-threatening complications in frail patients with notable comorbidities. In such cases, urgent culture and biopsy and the long-term use of proper antibiotics are necessary.


Infection following vertebral augmentation with polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) is rare. We aimed to analyze 11 cases of pyogenic spondylitis and spondylodiscitis that occurred after vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty and to review similar cases in the literature.


All cases of postoperative spinal infections in our institution between January 2005 and November 2016 that primarily underwent percutaneous vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty were retrospectively reviewed. Eleven patients (mean age 76.3 years) were included.


The incidence of infection following vertebroplasty/kyphoplasty was 0.36%. Postoperative infection occurred in 3 of 826 cases. All patients underwent combined surgical and antibiotic treatment because of neurologic deficit on the initial diagnosis of the infection or failure of prior medical treatment of the infection. The surgical procedure was thorough debridement of infected tissue and material including PMMA following anterior column reconstruction via anterior/posterior/combined approach in 10 patients and percutaneous pedicle screw fixation alone in 1 patient aged 96 years. The mean follow-up period was 21.1 months after the revision operation, excluding one patient who died 17 days after revision surgery. Ten patients recovered from infection.


Although the incidence of infection following vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty is rare, postoperative infection and cement augmentation in preexisting spondylitis can develop into a life-threatening complication in frail patients with notable comorbidities. In treating infected vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty, immediate culture and biopsy and the long-term use of proper antibiotics are critical. Prompt surgical treatment should be considered in case of significant neurologic deficit, severe instability due to infected fracture, and resistance to antibiotics.


Spinal infection Vertebroplasty Kyphoplasty Spondylitis Spondylodiscitis Compression fracture 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jae-Woo Park
    • 1
  • Sang-Min Park
    • 2
  • Hui Jong Lee
    • 3
  • Choon-Ki Lee
    • 4
  • Bong-Soon Chang
    • 4
  • Hyoungmin Kim
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Asan Medical CenterUniversity of Ulsan College of MedicineSeoulSouth Korea
  2. 2.Department of Orthopedic SurgerySeoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seoul National University College of MedicineSungnamSouth Korea
  3. 3.Department of Orthopedic SurgerySeokjeong Wellpark HospitalGochangSouth Korea
  4. 4.Department of Orthopedic SurgerySeoul National University College of MedicineSeoulSouth Korea

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