Percutaneous vertebroplasty in the therapy of osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures: a critical review

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Percutaneous vertebroplasty has become an efficient technique for the treatment of painful vertebral fractures. Osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures are characterized by severe back pain and immobilization causing other complications like thrombosis or pneumonia. Vertebral cement augmentation provides increased strength of the vertebral body and an obvious pain relief. Between 1989 and 2004, 30 studies and a total of 2,086 treated patients have been published in literature. A review of these studies has been performed. The number and age of the patients, number of treated vertebrae, pre- and postoperative outcome of pain and complications of the different studies were assessed and analyzed. Percutaneous vertebroplasty is an efficient technique with low complication rates and a significant reduction in pain. It rapidly improves the mobility and quality of life of patients with vertebral compression fractures. With an increasing number of treated patients, experience with this interventional technique has become excellent. But still there are no randomized controlled trials available, showing that percutaneous vertebroplasty has a significantly better outcome than other treatment options, especially after a long-term follow-up.

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