Findings from a new trial suggest that vertebroplasty is no more effective for pain relief than a sham procedure in older patients with acute osteoporotic compression fractures of the vertebral body.
The trial included 180 participants requiring treatment for acute osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures at four hospitals in the Netherlands between 2011 and 2015. The participants were randomised to either vertebroplasty (n=91) or a sham procedure (n=89). Participants received local subcutaneous lidocaine (lignocaine) and bupivacaine at each pedicle. The vertebroplasty group also received cementation, which was simulated in the sham procedure group.
Pain was measured using a visual analogue scale (VAS) at one day, one week, and one, three, six, and 12 months. Clinically significant pain relief was defined as a decrease of 1.5 points in VAS score from baseline.
The mean reduction in VAS pain score was statistically significant in both groups at all follow-up points after the procedure, compared with baseline. However, the authors found these changes in VAS scores did not differ statistically significantly between the groups over the 12-month follow-up period.
Presenting their findings in The BMJ, the authors said the results do not support percutaneous vertebroplasty as standard pain treatment in patients with acute osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures.