An ex vivo biomechanical evaluation of an inflatable bone tamp used in the treatment of compression fracture

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2001 Jan 15;26(2):151-6. doi: 10.1097/00007632-200101150-00008.


Study design: Ex vivo biomechanical study using osteoporotic cadaveric vertebral bodies.

Objectives: To determine if the inflatable bone tamp (tamp) restores height to compressed vertebral bodies and to compare the biomechanical properties of isolated, fractured osteoporotic vertebral bodies treated by kyphoplasty (tamp) or vertebroplasty.

Summary of background data: Previous biomechanical studies have shown that vertebroplasty increases vertebral body strength and restores vertebral body stiffness, but does not restore vertebral body height lost as a result of compression fracture.

Methods: Compression fractures were experimentally created in 16 osteoporotic VBs assigned to either the tamp or percutaneous vertebroplasty group. The tamp treatment consisted of inserting balloon-like devices into the vertebral body, inflating the bone tamp, and filling the void with Simplex P (Howmedica, Rutherford, NJ) bone cement. The percutaneous vertebroplasty treatment consisted of directly injecting Cranioplastic bone cement (CMW, Blackpool, UK) into the vertebral body. Pre- and posttreatment heights were measured, and the repaired vertebral bodies were recompressed to determine posttreatment strength and stiffness values.

Results: The tamp treatment resulted in significant restoration (97%) of vertebral body height lost after compression, whereas percutaneous vertebroplasty treatment resulted in a significantly lower restoration of lost height (30%) (P < 0.05). Both treatments resulted in significantly stronger vertebral bodies relative to their initial state (P < 0.05). The tamp treatment restored vertebral body stiffness to initial values, but the percutaneous vertebroplasty treatment did not (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: Tamp treatment resulted in significantly greater height restoration than did percutaneous vertebroplasty, without loss of vertebral body strength or stiffness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Bone Density / physiology
  • Bone Substitutes / therapeutic use*
  • Decompression, Surgical / methods*
  • Decompression, Surgical / trends
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal / methods*
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal / trends
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Prostheses and Implants / trends*
  • Radiography
  • Spinal Fractures / diagnostic imaging
  • Spinal Fractures / surgery*
  • Spine / diagnostic imaging
  • Spine / pathology*
  • Spine / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Bone Substitutes