Spinal fracture patients who underwent vertebroplasty experienced less acute pain and disability, and reduced their hospital stays by 5.5 days, a recent study suggests.

Vertebroplasty involves the injection of spinal cement into the fractured vertebra to stabilize the fracture and relieve pressure.

The study from Australian researchers, published recently in The Lancet, involved 120 patients with spinal fractures who noted 7 or higher on a numeric rating scale (NRS) of their pain resulting from the injury.

From this total, 61 patients were randomly assigned to receive vertebroplasty and 59 were assigned to receive a placebo.

After 14 days of treatment, 23 patients who received vertebroplasty reported that their NRS scale rating of their pain dropped to lower than 4.

While 53% of patients in the placebo group still had moderate or severe pain six months after the procedure, patients in the vertebroplasty group reported lower pain at all time intervals after the procedure, according to a media release from Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery.

In addition, the study suggests that the procedure does not contribute to future fractures, as was, at times, previously thought, per the release.

“These findings are important because, for the first time, vertebroplasty has been demonstrated to reduce pain more effectively than a sham intervention,” says Dr Joshua Hirsch, past president of the Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery and author of the companion expert commentary in The Lancet, in the release.

“Moreover, the trial suggests that conservative therapy including narcotics, bedrest and back braces, are themselves not risk-free. Indeed, in prior open label trials such as VERTOS 2, vertebroplasty has performed dramatically better than conservative therapy,” he adds.

[Source(s): Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery, Science Daily]