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Research In Brief

This article was originally published in The Gray Sheet

Executive Summary

Vertebroplasty benefit: In patients with acute osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures and persistent pain, percutaneous vertebroplasty provides immediate pain relief that is sustained for at least a year and is significantly greater than optimum pain treatment on a visual analog scale (VAS), according to a study posted online Aug. 9 by the Lancet. Data from the VERTOS II trial show the difference in mean VAS score reduction between vertebroplasty and conservative therapy was 2.6 at one month and 2.0 at one year. The results contrast with findings from two studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine last year that concluded there was no difference between vertebroplasty and sham treatment in spine fracture patients (1"The Gray Sheet" Aug. 10, 2009). Unlike VERTOS II, those trials included subacute fractures up to a year old, Caroline Klazen, St. Elisabeth Ziekenhuis, Netherlands, et al., point out. VERTOS II began therapy five-six weeks after the onset of pain, which suggests the procedure, when done earlier, is "more effective for pain relief than is treatment up to a year after onset.

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