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Balloon Kyphoplasty Can Treat Vertebral Fractures

Minimally invasive procedure can be considered as early treatment option

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Painful vertebral fractures can be safely and effectively treated with balloon kyphoplasty, a minimally invasive procedure, according to research published online Feb. 25 in The Lancet.

Douglas Wardlaw, of Woodend Hospital in Aberdeen, the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a study of 300 adults with one to three acute vertebral fractures who were enrolled at 21 sites in eight countries, of whom 149 were assigned to kyphoplasty and 151 were assigned to non-surgical care. The patients were assessed over the following 12 months.

One month after surgery, patients treated with kyphoplasty had a mean 7.2 point improvement in their physical component summary score, compared with a mean 2.0 points for the control group, the investigators found, and adverse events occurred with similar frequency in both groups.

"Compared with non-surgical management, balloon kyphoplasty resulted in improvements in quality of life and disability measures and reduction of back pain in patients with acute painful vertebral fractures; however, differences in improvement between kyphoplasty and non-surgical control groups diminished by one year," the authors write. "These findings will help to inform decisions about the use of balloon kyphoplasty as an early treatment option for this patient population."

The study was funded by Medtronic Spine LLC, of Minneapolis, which has developed balloon kyphoplasty technology, and the study authors have disclosed financial relationships with Medtronic Spine.

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