Osteoporotic Vertebral Fractures and the Role of Percutaneous Vertebroplasty in Patient Care
Background: Osteoporosis is an age-related skeletal condition of bone, with increasing prevalence in older populations. Insufficiency of the bone is associated with increased disability and mortality. Vertebral fractures are commonly secondary to osteoporosis, however only a proportion of patients may present clinically with identifiable symptoms. Percutaneous vertebroplasty is an interventional method of managing such patients.
Aim: To determine the role of percutaneous vertebroplasty in managing patients with osteoporotic vertebral fractures.
Methods: Electronic databases including MEDLINE, Cochrane Library and NHS Evidence were searched for meta-analyses and randomised controlled trials, with some provision given to expert reviews due to the small pool of publications available. Search terms used included “osteoporosis and vertebral fractures”, “vertebroplasty and osteoporosis”, “percutaneous vertebroplasty in the management of osteoporosis”, “vertebral body cement augmentation”, and “balloon kyphoplasty”.
Results: Vertebroplasty reduces pain in the short-term (up to 2 weeks) after surgery and has sustained effects in improving quality of life. The long-term effects are difficult to establish due to the underlying osteoporosis disease progression and comorbidities.
Conclusion: Vertebroplasty is worthwhile in treating acute vertebral fractures associated with pain. However more research is needed to fully determine its effectiveness in the long term.
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