Complications and healthcare utilization in commercially-insured osteoporotic vertebral compression fracture patients: a comparison of kyphoplasty versus propensity-matched controls

Spine J. 2021 Aug;21(8):1347-1354. doi: 10.1016/j.spinee.2021.03.025. Epub 2021 Mar 26.


Background context: Osteoporotic vertebral fractures (OVFs) can lead to severe pain and reduced function and quality-of-life, but the strength of evidence for treatments remains low, particularly in younger populations.

Purpose: To determine whether patients with OVFs who received kyphoplasty had different patterns of healthcare utilization compared to propensity-matched patients who did not receive vertebral augmentation.

Design: Observational cohort study.

Patient sample: We identified patients with OVFs from 2007 to 2018 in the IBM MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters Databases who received kyphoplasty and compared them to propensity-matched controls who did not receive vertebral augmentation (either kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty).

Outcome measures: Major medical complications within 30 days, fills of opioids from 1-week through 1-month postaugmentation, and spine-related gross covered payments from 3-days postkyphoplasty through 1-year post-OVF.

Methods: We used logistic regression to obtain odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) to compare binary outcomes and median analysis to compare continuous outcomes.

Results: Of the 15,197 OVF patients identified, 1,969 (13%) received kyphoplasty and 1,928 (98%) of these were propensity matched to nonaugmented controls. We did not observe differences in the odds of major medical complications within 30 days (adjusted OR [95% CI]: 1.0 [0.6, 1.8]) but patients who received kyphoplasty were more likely to have filled opioid medications within 30 days (adjusted OR [95% CI]: 1.3 [1.1, 1.5]) and had greater spine-related gross covered payments (kyphoplasty median [95% CI]: $1,340 [$240, $4,850]; nonaugmented: $7,870 [$7,480, $8,270]; adjusted difference in medians [95% CI]: $260 [$190, $2,050]).

Conclusions: In this cohort of patients <65 years, receipt of kyphoplasty was associated with greater likelihood of opioid fills and somewhat greater spine-related gross covered payments, but no difference in major medical complications. In this retrospective study of administrative data, we did not detect advantages of treatment with kyphoplasty compared with nonaugmentation for any of our outcomes.

Keywords: Cost; Healthcare utilization; Kyphoplasty; Opioids; Osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Fractures, Compression* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Kyphoplasty* / adverse effects
  • Lumbar Vertebrae
  • Osteoporotic Fractures* / epidemiology
  • Osteoporotic Fractures* / surgery
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spinal Fractures* / surgery
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vertebroplasty* / adverse effects