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A literature review of experiences with vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty for treating symptomatic, osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures (VCFs).To summarize the advantages and disadvantages of kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty.Osteoporotic VCFs are a leading cause of disability and morbidity in the elderly. The consequences of osteoporotic VCFs (pain and often progressive vertebral collapse with resultant spinal kyphosis) adversely affect quality of life, physical function, mental health, and survival. Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are minimally invasive procedures for treating painful fractures. Vertebroplasty entails the percutaneous injection of bone cement into the fractured vertebra in attempts to stabilize the fracture and reduce pain. Kyphoplasty addresses pain and kyphotic deformity by the percutaneous expansion of an inflatable bone tamp to effect fracture reduction before cement deposition in a fractured vertebra.A literature review of surgical techniques, indications, clinical results, and complications for vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty.Studies of vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty have reported excellent pain relief and improved function in most patients with osteoporotic VCFs. Vertebroplasty has the advantage of being relatively quick and inexpensive. Kyphoplasty, while associated with increased cost and surgical time, offers the potential to improve spinal alignment. In addition, by creating an intravertebral cavity, kyphoplasty reduces the risk of extravertebral bone filler extravasation.Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are currently used to treat osteoporotic VCFs with successful short-term results. Prospective, randomized studies comparing these procedures to one another and comparing their long-term outcomes to conventional medical management are required to define precise roles of these exciting treatments in the spine physician’s armamentarium.