Vertebroplasty can reduce pain among spinal fracture patients

22 August 2016

A new study has offered evidence that vertebroplasty operations are an effective means of reducing pain among people who have sustained spinal fractures.

Published in The Lancet, the research analysed results for 120 patients, of whom 61 were randomly assigned to vertebroplasty and 59 to a placebo procedure. The vertebroplasty process involves injecting a special cement into the vertebra to stabilise the fracture and relieve pressure.

After 14 days of treatment, 23 per cent of patients in the vertebroplasty group reported a pain score of lower than four. Moreover, 53 per cent of placebo patients had moderate or severe pain six months after the procedure, while patients those receiving vertebroplasty reported lower pain at intervals after the procedure.

The study also found the procedure does not contribute to future fractures as was previously thought.

Dr Joshua Hirsch, past president of the Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery, said in an accompanying commentary: "These findings are important because, for the first time, vertebroplasty has been demonstrated to reduce pain more effectively than a sham intervention. Moreover, the trial suggests that conservative therapy including narcotics, bedrest and back braces, are themselves not risk-free."

Posted by Edward Bartel

 


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