Comparison of Radiofrequency-targeted Vertebral Augmentation With Balloon Kyphoplasty for the Treatment of Vertebral Compression Fractures: 2-Year Results

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Study Design:

A retrospective study.


The aim of this study was the evaluation of the safety and effectiveness of radiofrequency-targeted vertebral augmentation (RF-TVA) in comparison with balloon kyphoplasty (BK) for the treatment of acute painful vertebral compression fractures (VCFs) on the basis of matched pairs.

Summary of Background:

Vertebroplasty and BK are the common surgical interventions for the treatment of VCF. Both are effective and safe but pose some risks such as adjacent fractures and cement leakage. In 2009, RF-TVA was introduced as an innovative augmentation procedure for the treatment of VCF.

Materials and Methods:

A total of 192 patients (116 female; 51–90 y) with VCF (n=303) at 1 to 3 levels were treated with RF-TVA or BK. Functionality (Oswestry Disability Index), pain (visual analogue scale), vertebral height (anterior, middle), and kyphotic angle were evaluated over a 2-year period (postoperatively, 3–4 d, 3, 6, 12, and 24 mo). In addition, operating time and occurrence of cement leakage were recorded.


Pain and functionality were significantly improved after both treatments. In both groups, there was an increase in the vertebral height and a decrease in the kyphotic angle, which remained relatively consistent during 24 months. The incidence of cement leakage was 9.4% (n=9) in the RF-TVA group and 24.0% (n=25) in the BK group. The mean operating time with radiofrequency kyphoplasty was 25.9±9.9 minutes, and with balloon kyphoplasty 48.0±18.4 minutes.


RF-TVA is a safe and effective procedure for the treatment of vertebral compression fractures when compared with BK. Improvement in pain and functional scores after RF-TVA are durable through 24 months postprocedure and remained better than those after BK at long-term follow-up. Operating time for RF-TVA is shorter and the risk of cement leakage is lower. Both procedures provided similar results in vertebral height restoration and reduction in the kyphotic angle.

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