Comparative analysis of clinical outcomes in patients with osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures (OVCFs): Conservative treatment versus balloon kyphoplasty

Hwan Mo Lee, Si Young Park, Soon Hyuck Lee, Seung Woo Suh, Jae Young Hong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Citations (Scopus)


Background context: Most osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures (OVCFs) can be treated conservatively. Recently, kyphoplasty has become a common treatment for painful osteoporotic compression fractures and has shown numerous benefits, such as early pain control and height restoration of the collapsed vertebral body. In spite of being a simple procedure, numerous complications related to kyphoplasty have been reported. Moreover, there is limited evidence to support its superiority. Purpose: To compare the clinical outcomes of patients with OVCF according to different treatment modalities and identify clinical risk factors related to failure of conservative treatment of OVCF. Study design: A prospective study consisting of a review of case report forms. Patients sample: We prospectively enrolled 259 patients who had one or two acute painful OVCFs confirmed by magnetic resonance imaging. All patients were treated conservatively in the initial 3 weeks. Kyphoplasty was performed in 91 patients who complained of sustained back pain and disability in spite of conservative treatment for the initial 3 weeks. Outcome measures: Pain score using visual analog scale (VAS) and the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI). Methods: Participants were stratified according to age, sex, level and number of fractures, bone mineral density, body mass index (BMI), collapse rates, and history of spine fractures. Pain scores using VASs were assessed at 1 week and at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months. Results: A total of 259 patients were enrolled, and 231 patients (82 of 91 patients in the kyphoplasty group [KP] and 149 of 168 patients in the conservative treatment group) completed the 1-year follow-up. About 65% of patients were treated successfully with conservative treatment. Risk factors for failure of 3 weeks of conservative treatment were older age (older than 78.5 years), severe osteoporosis (t score less than -2.95), overweight (BMI more than 25.5), and larger collapse rates (more than 28.5%). There were significant reductions in VAS and ODI scores in both groups at each follow-up assessment. At the first month, better clinical results were observed in KP. However, there were no significant differences in outcome measures between the two groups at 3, 6, or 12 months. Thirteen subsequent compression fractures (five in KP and eight in the conservative treatment group) occurred during the 1-year follow-up period. Conclusion: Both treatments of OVCF showed successful clinical results at the end of the 1-year follow-up period. Kyphoplasty showed better outcomes in the first month only. Given these results, prompt kyphoplasty should not be indicated in the case of a patient with OVCF that has no risk factors for failure with conservative treatment. Rather, a trial of conservative, 3-week treatment would be beneficial.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)998-1005
Number of pages8
JournalSpine Journal
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Nov


  • Acute fracture
  • Kyphoplasty
  • Osteoporosis
  • Risk factor analysis
  • Vertebral compression fracture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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