Percutaneous Vertebroplasty Improves Pain and Physical Functioning in Elderly Osteoporotic Vertebral Compression Fracture Patients

Gerontology. Jan-Feb 2005;51(1):34-9. doi: 10.1159/000081432.


Background: Osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures are being recognized increasingly often in the elderly. They frequently cause severe and prolonged back pain and physical decline. Bed rest, narcotic analgesia, and external bracing were the only therapeutic modalities available in the past and had limited success.

Objective: The purpose of our study was to determine the efficacy of percutaneous vertebroplasty in treating osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures in the elderly.

Methods: Twenty-two vertebroplasties were performed in 16 elderly patients. Pain relief, medication requirements, and physical functioning were evaluated before and 24 h and 6 months after vertebroplasty.

Results: There was 81% improvement in pain intensity 24 h after operation, and 94% improvement was noted at the 6-month follow-up checkup. Physical functioning improved 69% 24 h after vertebroplasty and 63% 6 months later. Medication requirements also decreased in 75% of the patients.

Conclusion: Percutaneous vertebroplasty for osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures is safe and effective and should not be withheld from the elderly.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Orthopedic Procedures / methods*
  • Osteoporosis / complications
  • Osteoporosis / surgery*
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain / surgery*
  • Radiography
  • Spinal Fractures / etiology
  • Spinal Fractures / physiopathology
  • Spinal Fractures / surgery*
  • Spine / diagnostic imaging
  • Spine / pathology
  • Spine / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome