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A Journal on Surgery

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Minerva Chirurgica 2010 August;65(4):429-37


language: English

The present role of vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty in the treatment of fresh vertebral compression fractures

Röllinghoff M., Zarghooni K., Dargel J., Schlegel U. J., Siewe J., Eysel P., Sobottke R.

Department of Orthopedic and Trauma Surgery, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany


Vertebroplasty (VP) and kyphoplasty (KP) are minimally invasive vertebral augmentation procedures for the treatment of fresh vertebral compression fractures (VCFs) associated with osteoporosis, trauma, malignant conditions, hemangiomas, and osteonecrosis. During these procedures, bone cement (e.g., polymethylmethacrylate) is percutaneously injected into the vertebral body. Systematic reviews of both procedures have shown significantly improved back pain and quality of life compared to conservative therapy. Direct comparison between VP and KP is not possible because of the lack of prospective randomized data comparing the two procedures. Both appear to improve patient functional status in most studies, although it is difficult to pool the available data because of differing measurement scales. With increasing popularity of both techniques, particularly over the past ten years, a rising number of publications have detailed potential complications secondary to cement extravasation, from compression of neural elements to venous embolism. Overall complication rates for both procedures are low. Systematic reviews have found significantly higher rates of cement leakage after VP (40%) versus KP (8%), with 3% of VP leaks being symptomatic. The evidence for increased risk of adjacent level fracture after these procedures compared to conservative treatment is inconclusive. When performed by a well-trained practitioner in appropriately selected patients, vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are both safe and effective treatments for fresh vertebral compression fractures. Results from ongoing randomized controlled trials will provide further detailed information about both procedures in the future.

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