Cochrane review of percutaneous vertebroplasty

Osteoporosis is common among the elderly, especially women. Vertebral compression fractures are a painful sequel of an osteoporotic spine and the most common complication seen in osteoporosis. More than 700,000 new compression fractures happen in the US each year at a cost of $1.5 billion. (More here.) Integrative medicine providers may treat patients with pain from osteoporotic compression fractures.

A recent innovation in surgical treatment for these painful fractures is percutaneous vertebroplasty. The procedure involves injection of cement into the fractured vertebra which then hardens and supports the fracture. A recent Cochrane systematic review of this procedure however calls into question the effectiveness of the procedure. Given the cost of the procedure and the potential for complications, conservative non-surgical treatment approaches are a reasonable alternative.