Percutaneous vertebroplasty for vertebral compression fractures with and without intravertebral clefts

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We present the clinical and radiological results of percutaneous vertebroplasty in the treatment of 58 vertebral compression fractures in 51 patients at a minimum follow-up of two years. Group 1 consisted of 39 patients, in whom there was no associated intravertebral cleft, whilst group 2 comprised 12 patients with an intravertebral cleft. The Oswestry disability index (ODI) and visual analogue scale (VAS) scores were recorded prospectively. The radiological evidence of kyphotic deformity, vertebral height, leakage of cement and bone resorption around the cement were studied restrospectively, both before and after operation and at the final follow-up.

The ODI and VAS scores in both groups decreased after treatment, but the mean score in group 2 was higher than that in group 1 (p = 0.02 (ODI), p = 0.02 (VAS)). There was a greater initial correction of the kyphosis in group 2 than in group 1, although the difference was not statistically significant. However, loss of correction was greater in group 2. Leakage of cement was seen in 24 (41.4%) of 58 vertebrae (group 1, 32.6% (15 of 46); group 2, 75% (9 of 12)), mainly of type B through the basal vertebral vein in group 1 and of type C through the cortical defect in group 2. Resorption of bone around the cement was seen in three vertebrae in group 2 and in one in group 1. There were seven adjacent vertebral fractures in group 1 and one in group 2.

Percutaneous vertebroplasty is an effective treatment for osteoporotic compression fractures with or without an intravertebral cleft. Nonetheless, higher rates of complications related to the cement must be recognised in patients in the presence of an intravertebral cleft.

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