Balloon kyphoplasty better for vertebral compression fracture

Aug 01, 2009

Balloon kyphoplasty results in more and faster improvements in quality of life and disability measures and reduction of back pain than nonsurgical treatment for patients with acute painful vertebral fracture. However, the differences in improvement diminish by 1 year after treatment for most outcome measures, probably because of natural fracture healing.

Balloon kyphoplasty results in more and faster improvements in quality of life and disability measures and reduction of back pain than nonsurgical treatment for patients with acute painful vertebral fracture. However, the differences in improvement diminish by 1 year after treatment for most outcome measures, probably because of natural fracture healing.

Wardlaw and associates randomized 300 patients who had 1 to 3 significant compression fractures to balloon kyphoplasty or nonsurgical care. The primary study outcome was the difference in the Short Form-36 (SF-36) physical component summary (PCS) score between baseline and 1 month.

The SF-36 PCS score was 5.2 points better in the kyphoplasty group than in the nonsurgical group during the first month; it remained about 3.5 points better over the year. Surgical patients also enjoyed better quality of life, had less body pain and greater physical vitality, and could function better socially. Although they also reported 2.9 fewer days of disability than the nonsurgical group during the first postoperative month, this difference diminished by 12 months.

The authors noted that their findings will help inform decisions about the use of balloon kyphoplasty as an early treatment option for patients with vertebral compression fracture.

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