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

Kevin D Pile
Med J Aust 2010; 192 (3): 174-175.
Published online: 1 February 2010

To the Editor: Clinical trials study a restricted patient group, so their results may not be generalisable to a different population subgroup or the population as a whole. The editorial by Buchbinder, Osborne and Kallmes1 about their recent vertebroplasty studies2,3 concludes that vertebroplasty offers no benefit over placebo. They suggest that, in light of their trials, the decision to list vertebroplasty on the Medical Benefits Schedule will be reviewed later this year. I understood the review to have been part of the original listing on the benefits schedule and not as a result of their studies, and I suggest that their editorial generalises results to a subpopulation of early acute vertebral fractures that they did not study.

  • Kevin D Pile

  • University of Western Sydney, Sydney, NSW.


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