Vertebroplasty can greatly improve the quality of life for osteoporosis patients. Are there any recent studies, though, which provide evidence for the minimally invasive treatment’s safety, effectiveness and low-complication rate?
Vertebroplasty, the injection of medical-grade bone cement into a fractured vertebra, shores up the fracture similar to an internal cast and provides pain relief. It is indicated for painful vertebral compression fractures that fail to respond to conventional medical therapy, such as minimal or no pain relief with analgesics or narcotic doses that are intolerable.
A study regarding the efficacy of vertebroplasty was recently reported at the Society of Interventional Radiology Scientific Meeting recently.
The study followed 884 osteoporosis patients who were treated with vertebroplasty for five years, and found that the procedure significantly decreased pain and improved functional ability. Pain scores were reduced from 7.9 (out of 11) pretreatment to 1.3 after treatment. Patients’ abilities to perform daily tasks also improved - a written survey found a decrease in disability from 69 percent to 13.5 percent.
“These data provide good news for physicians and osteoporosis patients. Many osteoporosis patients with compression fractures are in terrible pain and have a greatly diminished ability to perform basic daily activities, such as dressing themselves,” said Giovanni C. Anselmetti, M.D., interventional radiologist at the Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment in Turin, Italy.
The study also showed that vertebroplasty does not increase the risk of fracture in nearby vertebra. “Vertebroplasty is already known to be a safe and effective treatment for osteoporotic vertebral fractures. Osteoporosis patients remain susceptible to new fractures, which often occur in the contiguous vertebra to an existing fracture. Our large-scale study shows that vertebroplasty does not increase the risk of fracture in the level contiguous to previously treated vertebra and that these new fractures occur at the same rate as they would in osteoporosis patients who did not have vertebroplasty,” added Anselmetti.
Source: Abstract 182, “Percutaneous Vertebroplasty in the Osteoporotic Patients: Five Years Prospective Follow-up in 884 Consecutive Patients,” can be found at http://www.SIRmeeting.org.