Background: There has been an increasing number of reports regarding
the benefits of vertebroplasty for the treatment of vertebral compression
fractures. In this investigation, validated outcome tools were utilized to
document the impact of vertebroplasty on pain and function.
Methods: Fifty patients were recruited at a tertiary university
hospital. Patients had been treated for intractable pain due to osteoporotic
compression fracture(s) for at least four weeks. The vertebroplasty procedures
were performed by a radiologist. The subjects were followed prospectively for
one year and received conservative treatment in conjunction with the
vertebroplasty. Validated outcome tools, including a visual analog scale, the
Oswestry scale, and the Roland-Morris functional activity questionnaire, were
used to evaluate changes in pain and functional capabilities.
Results: Fifty patients, thirty-one women and nineteen men (mean
age, 68.6 years), were followed prospectively for one year. One hundred and
three fractures (fifty-nine thoracic and forty-four lumbar) were treated. The
visual analog scale showed the greatest improvement between the baseline score
(mean, 7.76) and the score at one month (mean, 2.9), and the score remained
improved at one year (mean, 2.9). The Oswestry and Roland-Morris
questionnaires demonstrated significant (p < 0.0001) functional improvement
between the baseline and one-month scores. With the numbers available, there
were no significant changes in any variable from one month to one year (p >
Conclusions: Vertebroplasty is an effective treatment for patients
with intractable pain due to osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures.
Improvement in pain scores and functional capabilities that were found at one
month were maintained at one year.
Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions
to Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.