A Retrospective Study of Percutaneous Balloon Kyphoplasty for the Treatment of Symptomatic Schmorl's Nodes: 5-Year Results

Med Sci Monit. 2017 Jun 13;23:2879-2889. doi: 10.12659/msm.904802.


BACKGROUND Despite literature supporting the efficiency of percutaneous balloon kyphoplasty (PKP) in treating osteoporotic and malignant vertebral compression fractures, few reports exist that document its use for treatment of symptomatic Schmorl's nodes (SNs) refractory to conservative treatment. Patients with symptomatic SNs could have pain in the vertebrae similar to an acute vertebral compression fracture. MRI is very helpful in diagnosing symptomatic SNs when x-ray and CT scan are unremarkable. In painful cases, the vertebrae bone marrow around the SNs is hyperintense on T2-weighted subsequence. We evaluated the long-term safety and effectiveness of PKP for the treatment of symptomatic SNs not responding to conservative therapy. MATERIAL AND METHODS From January 2008 to December 2012, 32 patients suffering from symptomatic SNs underwent 43 PKP procedures. Outcome data, including mean height ratio of anterior and middle vertebral body, Visual Analog Scale (VAS score) for pain measurement, Oswestry Disability Indexes (ODI score) and SF-36 questionnaires for function measurement were recorded preoperatively, postoperatively, and at one month, six months, two years, and five years after treatment. RESULTS Thirty-two patients were treated successfully with PKP. Clinically asymptomatic cement leakage was observed in three (6.98%) of the treated vertebral bodies. The mean height ratio of anterior and middle vertebral bodies changed from 98.2±1.6% preoperatively to 98.5±1.4% postoperatively (p>0.05) and 98.3±1.5% preoperatively to 98.8±1.9% postoperatively (p>0.05). The mean VAS scores, ODI score, and SF-36 scores for physical function (PF), bodily pain (BF), social functioning (SF), and vitality (VT) all showed significant improvements (p<0.05). During the 5-year follow-up, the stabilization of the height of the vertebral body and functional improvements were all maintained. CONCLUSIONS PKP is a safe and effective procedure for the treatment of symptomatic SNs refractory to conservative therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intervertebral Disc Degeneration / diagnostic imaging
  • Intervertebral Disc Degeneration / surgery*
  • Intervertebral Disc Displacement / diagnostic imaging
  • Intervertebral Disc Displacement / surgery*
  • Kyphoplasty / adverse effects
  • Kyphoplasty / methods*
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / surgery
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Outcome

Supplementary concepts

  • Intervertebral disc disease