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 2010; 192 (3): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2010.tb03467.x
Published online: 1 February 2010

In reply: The letters by Graziotti and Pile raise spurious issues that in no way threaten the key message of our trials. Participation rates in both trials were better than other controlled trials of vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty.1,2 Eligible patients who declined enrolment in the Investigational Vertebroplasty Efficacy and Safety Trial (INVEST) had similar levels of pain and disability to those who participated.3 Both trials adhered to stringent eligibility criteria, ensuring that only patients with pain due to acute or subacute fractures were included. All operators were trained and experienced, and the low incidence of serious adverse effects in both trials is consistent with the literature. There is no evidence that the outcome of vertebroplasty is influenced by cement distribution or volume.4 Local anaesthetic infiltration of the periosteum of the pedicles, as occurred in one trial,3 is unlikely to have a sustained effect.

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

  • 1 Monash Department of Clinical Epidemiology at Cabrini Hospital, Cabrini Hospital and Monash University, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 2 Department of Epidemiology 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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