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Prospective Measurement of Function and Pain in Patients with Non-Neoplastic Compression Fractures Treated with Vertebroplasty

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Abstract

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 > 0.05).

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.

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