Treatment of severe vertebral body compression fractures with percutaneous vertebroplasty

Skeletal Radiol. 2011 Dec;40(12):1531-6. doi: 10.1007/s00256-011-1138-y. Epub 2011 Mar 27.


Objective: Evaluate the efficacy of percutaneous vertebroplasty for severe vertebral body compression fractures.

Methods: Over a period of 6 years and 8 months, 661 vertebroplasties were performed in 292 patients at our institution. Of these, 69 patients met our criteria for a severe vertebral body compression fracture defined as vertebral body collapse to less than one-third of the original height. Of the 69, 25 underwent single level vertebroplasty. Imaging features were then analyzed including location, extent of collapse, pattern of compression, pre- and post-kyphotic angle and adjacent disc height. Complications and clinical outcomes were then evaluated.

Results: Involved vertebra ranged from T6 to L5 with 60% at the thoracolumbar junction. Vertebral body collapse ranged from 30 to 14% (mean 22%) of original height. Pattern of collapse included 11/ 25 (44%) plana, 8/25 (32%) gibbus, and 6/25 (24%) H-shaped. Kyphotic angle before vertebroplasty ranged from 33-0° (mean 16°) with an average correction of 1.2° after vertebroplasty. Mean disc height before vertebroplasty was 7.3 mm above and 7.7 mm below. Complications included cement leak to the adjacent disc in 16 (64%) and the paravertebral soft tissues in 3 (12%). Cement leak into the proximal azygous vein was documented in one case. International Quality of Life Questionnaire VAS was completed before and after (6 weeks) the procedure by all but six patients. Mean pre-intervention VAS was reported as 7.00 (range 5-10, SD 1.73) and mean post-intervention VAS was reported as 5.11 (range 0-9, SD 2.56), demonstrating a statistically significant improvement in pain (P < 0.015, 95% CI = 0.83-2.96) with 84% or 16/19 patients reporting some degree of improvement.

Conclusion: Percutaneous vertebroplasty is safe and effective in the treatment of single level severe vertebral body compression fractures.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bone Cements / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Fractures, Compression / diagnostic imaging
  • Fractures, Compression / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Injections
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Spinal Fractures / diagnostic imaging
  • Spinal Fractures / therapy*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Vertebroplasty*


  • Bone Cements