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Osteoporos Int. 2006 Dec;17(12):1815-9. Epub 2006 Sep 16.

Vertebral height restoration in osteoporotic compression fractures: kyphoplasty balloon tamp is superior to postural correction alone.

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Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Hospital for Special Surgery, 535 East 70th Street, New York, NY 10021, USA.



Kyphoplasty has been shown to restore vertebral height and sagittal alignment. Proponents of vertebroplasty have recently demonstrated that many vertebral compression fractures (VCFs) are mobile and positional correction can lead to clinically significant height restoration. The current investigation tested the hypothesis that positional maneuvers do not achieve the same degree of vertebral height correction as kyphoplasty balloon tamps for the reduction of low-energy VCFs.


Twenty-five consecutive patients with a total of 43 osteoporotic VCFs were entered into a prospective analysis. Each patient was sequentially evaluated for postural and balloon vertebral fracture reduction. Preoperative standing and lateral radiographs of the fractured vertebrae were compared with prone cross-table lateral radiographs with the patient in a hyper-extension position and on pelvic and sternal rolls. Following positional manipulation, patients underwent a unilateral balloon kyphoplasty. Postoperative standing radiographs were evaluated for the percentage of height restoration related to positioning and balloon kyphoplasty.


In the middle portion of the vertebrae, the percentage available for restoration restored with extension positioning was 10.4% (median 11.1%) and after balloon kyphoplasty was 57.0% (median 62.2%). This difference was statistically significant (p<0.001). Thus, kyphoplasty provided an additional 46.6% of the height available for restoration from the positioning alone. With operative positioning, 51.2% of VCFs had >10% restoration of the central portion of the vertebral body, whereas 90.7% of fractures improved at least 10% following balloon kyphoplasty (p<0.002).


Although this study supports the concept that many VCFs can be moved with positioning, balloon kyphoplasty enhanced the height reduction >4.5-fold over the positioning maneuver alone and accounted for over 80% of the ultimate reduction. If height restoration is the goal, kyphoplasty is clearly superior in most cases to the positioning maneuver alone.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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