Kyphoplasty for Vertebral Fractures Reduces Pain, Opioid Use

Nancy A. Melville – May 11, 2017

LOS ANGELES — Balloon kyphoplasty shows safety and efficacy in improving quality of life, pain, and functional outcomes, while reducing opioid use, among patients treated for vertebral compression fractures (VCFs), new research suggests.

“We found that all primary endpoints demonstrated statistical improvement and these were maintained or improved throughout a 12-month follow-up,” said first author, John W. Amburgy, MD, a resident with the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, in presenting the findings here at the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) 2017 Annual Meeting.

“Secondary endpoints, including opioid usage, activity, angulation correction, and height  restoration, also showed statistical improvement,” he reported.

In balloon kyphoplasty, a minimally invasive treatment for VCFs caused by bones weakened from osteoporosis or cancer, the compressed bone is gently raised to its normal position and the cavity created is filled with orthopedic cement to stabilize the fracture.

The procedure differs from vertebroplasty only in the use of the balloon approach.

The prospective EVOLVE outcomes analysis, which Dr Amburgy noted is the largest prospective outcomes trial for kyphoplasty to date, involved 350 patients with painful, acute, or subacute VCF who were enrolled at 24 sites and underwent kyphoplasty.

The patients had a mean age of 78 years; 77% were female. All had one to three acute or subacute fractures less than 4 months old. Approximately half (54.9%) had bilateral kyphoplasty.

Most patients had VCF due to osteoporosis (343 of 350), and the remaining cases were due to cancer.

The patients’ average pain scores were greater than 7 on a scale of 1 to 10, and disability on the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) was greater than 30 on a scale of 0 to 100.

Follow-up data collected at 1-, 3-, 6-, and 12-month time points showed significant improvements in various measures.




Drue is Managing Partner for The De Angelis Group.

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One Comment

  1. Drue. Thank you for posting this. Very interesting indeeed. I’d like to introduce you to someone developing a product for this space. whom Stryker would be interested in talking to. Enjoy your day Drue.
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