Immediate and early postoperative pain relief after kyphoplasty without significant restoration of vertebral body height in acute osteoporotic vertebral fractures

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Object

Painful osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures (VCFs) are a significant cause of disability in the elderly population. Kyphoplasty, a recently developed minimally invasive procedure, has been advocated for the successful management of these fractures in terms of immediate pain relief, and also for restoration of the premorbid level of daily activities. In this retrospective study the authors report on their experience with the early management of VCFs with kyphoplasty.

Methods

A retrospective analysis was conducted in 13 patients (seven women and six men) whose ages ranged from 48 to 87 years (mean age 71.5 ± 11 years [mean ± standard deviation]). The interval between onset of symptoms and surgical intervention ranged from 4 to 9 weeks. Twenty levels (12 thoracic, eight lumbar) were treated in this cohort. Immediate and early postoperative (1-month follow-up visit) visual analog scale (VAS) pain scores, activity levels, and restoration of vertebral body (VB) height were assessed.

The mean preoperative VAS score was 8 ± 1, whereas the immediate and early postoperative scores were 1 ± 1. These findings reflected a resolution of 90 to 100% of preoperative pain. All patients resumed routine activities within hours of the procedure, although improvement in VB height was not accomplished in this cohort. No major complications were encountered in this clinical series.

Conclusions

Kyphoplasty is a safe and effective method for the treatment of osteoporotic VCFs. Failure to restore VB height does not seem to interfere with the excellent pain management and good functional outcome provided by this procedure.

Abbreviations used in this paper:PMMA = polymethyl methacrylate; VAS = visual analog scale; VB = vertebral body; VCF = vertebral compression fracture.

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