Purpose: Evaluation of vertebroplasty using a combination of CT-fluoroscopy and conventional lateral fluoroscopy in patients with osteoporotic vertebral fractures.
Materials and methods: Fifty-eight patients (23male, 35 women, age 69.7 +/- 10.2 years) with painful osteoporotic vertebral fractures were treated with vertebroplasty in conscious sedation and local anesthesia. Spiral-CT with sagittal reconstructions of the respective vertebral bodies was used for classification of the fracture. The cannula was placed under CT-guidance in the ventral third of the respective vertebral bodies and cement instilled under CT fluoroscopy and lateral fluoroscopy. When cement migrated towards the vertebral canal, the injection was immediately stopped for 30 - 60 seconds. After polymerization in this location, the injection was continued until sufficient filling of the vertebra. Results were documented by spiral CT with sagittal reconstructions.
Results: A total of 123 vertebral bodies were treated, comprising 39 thoracic and 84 lumbar vertebral bodies, with a mean of 2.1 +/- 1.3 (range 1 to 6) vertebral bodies in each patient and a maximum of 3 vertebral bodies per session. All interventions were successfully completed in conscious sedation and local anesthesia. A mean volume of 5.9 +/- 0.6 ml (range 2 to 14 ml) cement was applied for each vertebra, with 79.7 % of procedures performed using a unilateral access. To achieve a sufficient cement deposit, a bilateral access was used in 20.3 %. The dorsal wall of the vertebra was included in 23.6 % of the fractures. In one case, cement migration into the spinal canal was detected, reducing the diameter of the canal by 30 %. In two other cases, cement leakage was seen at the puncture site of the vertebra (one intercostotransversally in the 10 (th) thoracic vertebra and one dorsolaterally in the 1 (st) lumbar vertebra) with retrograde cement migration through the neuroforamen into the epidural space. In one of these cases, the cannulation of the vertebra had been changed before cement application resulting in a hole in the dorsolateral vertebral wall. However, all patients were discharged without evidence of neurologic complications. Multiplanar reconstructions of CT scans were used for the detection of extraosseous cement leaks: The incidence of extraosseous cement leaks was 4.1 % in epidural veins, 6.5 % in paravertebral vessels (6 veins, 2 arteries), and 17.9 and 11.4 %, respectively, for upper or lower end plates. At discharge, 25 patients (43.1 %) were free of pain and 28 (48.3 %) significantly improved with a considerable reduction of analgetic drugs. Significant complaints persisted in 5 patients (8.6 %) with concomitant degenerative disease in four and vasculitis in one case.
Conclusion: Percutaneous vertebroplasty is effective for stabilization and pain management of osteoporotic vertebral fractures. The procedure can be safely performed in conscious sedation and local anesthesia. Compared to conventional fluoroscopy alone, CT fluoroscopy provides an excellent additional monitoring of the procedure and probably contributes to the safety of the procedure.