Do Injections of Bone Cement Safely Relieve the Pain of Vertebral Fractures?

Posted by The Evidence Blog on May 9, 2012

Chances are you know someone who has been diagnosed with osteoporosis. But did you know that osteoporosis is responsible for 1.5 million fractures per year, especially in women? Approximately 90% of all hip and spine fractures among elderly women are due to osteoporosis.

Fractures of the spinal vertebrae are often painful and can limit mobility. Percutaneous vertebroplasty (VP) is a procedure designed to treat painful vertebral fractures that are caused by osteoporosis. It involves the injection of bone cement into the fracture in an effort to relief pain, improve mobility, and prevent further collapse of the bone.

We recently completed a health technology assessment on VP and examined these relevant questions:

  • Is VP effective for the management of pain associated with vertebral compression fractures caused by osteoporosis or malignancy?
  • Is VP safe?
  • How does VP compare with other treatments?
  • Have patient selection criteria for VP been established?

Our research found some conflicting results. The initial randomized and nonrandomized studies that compared VP with conventional treatment suggest that VP does reduce pain and improve quality of life for patients with vertebral compression fractures due to osteoporosis. In contrast, the results from two other randomized trials showing that VP is not better than a sham procedure call into question the presumed beneficial effects of VP.

Hayes’ clients can access this report, along with the Hayes Rating applied to this technology, through our Knowledge Center. If you are not a Hayes client, but would like to purchase a single copy of this report, please contact us.

Topics: Health Technologies, Hayes Blog

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