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Osteoporos Int. 2014 Mar;25(3):807-19. doi: 10.1007/s00198-013-2574-4. Epub 2013 Nov 22.

Risks and benefits of percutaneous vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty in the management of osteoporotic vertebral fractures.

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  • 1Center of Bone Diseases-Bone and Joint Department, Lausanne University Hospital, Av Pierre-Decker, 4, 1011, Lausanne, Switzerland,


Vertebral fracture (VF) is the most common osteoporotic fracture and is associated with high morbidity and mortality. Conservative treatment combining antalgic agents and rest is usually recommended for symptomatic VFs. The aim of this paper is to review the randomized controlled trials comparing the efficacy and safety of percutaneous vertebroplasty (VP) and percutaneous balloon kyphoplasty (KP) versus conservative treatment. VP and KP procedures are associated with an acceptable general safety. Although the case series investigating VP/KP have all shown an outstanding analgesic benefit, randomized controlled studies are rare and have yielded contradictory results. In several of these studies, a short-term analgesic benefit was observed, except in the prospective randomized sham-controlled studies. A long-term analgesic and functional benefit has rarely been noted. Several recent studies have shown that both VP and KP are associated with an increased risk of new VFs. These fractures are mostly VFs adjacent to the procedure, and they occur within a shorter time period than VFs in other locations. The main risk factors include the number of preexisting VFs, the number of VPs/KPs performed, age, decreased bone mineral density, and intradiscal cement leakage. It is therefore important to involve the patients to whom VP/KP is being proposed in the decision-making process. It is also essential to rapidly initiate a specific osteoporosis therapy when a VF occurs (ideally a bone anabolic treatment) so as to reduce the risk of fracture. Randomized controlled studies are necessary in order to better define the profile of patients who likely benefit the most from VP/KP.

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