Study design: Narrative review.
Objective: Despite the numerous treatment options for vertebral compression fractures, a consensus opinion for the management of patients with these factures has not been established. This review is meant to provide an up-to-date overview of the most common treatment strategies for compression fractures and to suggest possible routes for the development of clearer treatment guidelines.
Methods: A comprehensive database search of PubMed was performed. All results from the past 30 years were obtained and evaluated based on title and abstract. The full length of relevant studies was analyzed for level of evidence, and the strongest studies were used in this review.
Results: The major treatment strategies for patients with compression fractures are conservative pain management and vertebral augmentation. Despite potential adverse effects, medical management, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, calcitonin, teriparatide, and bisphosphonates, remains the first-line therapy for patients. Evidence suggests that vertebral augmentation, especially some of the newer procedures, have the potential to dramatically reduce pain and improve quality of life. At this time, balloon-assisted kyphoplasty is the procedure with the most evidence of support.
Conclusions: Based on current literature, it is evident that there is a lack of standard of care for patients with vertebral compression fractures, which is either due to lack of evidence that a procedure is successful or due to serious adverse effects encountered with prolonged treatment. For a consensus to be reached, prospective clinical trials need to be formulated with potential new biomarkers to assess efficacy of treatment strategies.
Keywords: finite element analysis; kyphoplasty; pain management; spinal compression fracture; vertebral augmentation; vertebroplasty.
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