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Vertebroplasty appears no better than placebo for painful osteoporotic spinal fractures, and has potential to cause harm

Rachelle Buchbinder, Richard H Osborne and David Kallmes
Med J Aust 2009; 191 (9): 476-477.
Published online: 2 November 2009

Two randomised placebo-controlled trials show the importance of establishing the efficacy of procedures before adopting them into clinical practice

Vertebral fractures are a common manifestation of osteoporosis, and up to half such fractures result in severe pain and disability. Although most heal within weeks or a few months, some people experience persisting discomfort. Best supportive care includes bed rest, analgesia and physical therapy, and some patients require hospitalisation.

  • Rachelle Buchbinder1,2
  • Richard H Osborne3
  • David Kallmes4

  • 1 Monash Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Cabrini Hospital, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 2 Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 3 Public Health Innovation, Faculty of Health, Medicine, Nursing and Behavioural Sciences, Deakin University, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 4 Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn, USA.


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