New research shows vertebroplasty for patients with osteoporosis provides effective pain relief

Published date : 27 April 2010
Article date : 27 April 2010

At the recent Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR) meeting, new research showed that patient selection is key for vertebroplasty to be effective and successful. In a study of more than 1,500 patients who were followed over seven years, 2,251 osteoporotic patients (1,811 women; average age, 65) suffering from backpain for vertebral collapses (MRI confirmed) underwent a clinical interview.

Vertebroplasty was performed in 1,542 patients (1,302 women; average age, 73) when optimal medical treatment (such as biphosphonates, teriparatide, analgesics and back brace) did not help relieve pain or improve quality of life for patients over a three-month period. After vertebroplasty, patients continued to receive medical treatment with a rheumatologist. 

In 1,494 patients (96.9%), the average pre-treatment pain score on the 11-point visual analog scale was 8.2±1.8, and it dropped significantly to an average of 1.1±1.6 after vertebroplasty treatment. The Oswestry Disability Questionnaire (ODQ) scores changed from an average of 68.7±7.6% to 18.5±8.2%. Long-term follow-up (average, 31.2 months) in 1,017 patients (857 women; average age, 72) showed the visual analog score (VAS) significantly dropping from 7.9±1.5 to 1.3±1.7. Of the 757 patients wearing a back brace before vertebroplasty, 683 could stop wearing one after treatment.

Lead researcher Dr Giovanni C Anselmetti, Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment in Turin, Italy, said additional studies need to be performed, such as a large randomised trial comparing conventional medical treatment to medical treatment plus vertebroplasty.

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