Public Release: 

Vertebroplasty helps reduce acute pain among patients with spinal fractures

Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery

WASHINGTON, August 19, 2016--Vertebroplasty is a safe and effective procedure to reduce acute pain and disability in patients who have experienced spinal fractures within a 6-week period, according to a new study published this week in The Lancet. In this procedure, a special cement is injected in the fractured vertebra to stabilize the fracture and relieve patients of pressure.

The study also found patients' hospital stays reduced by 5.5 days with vertebroplasty.

The study, coming out of Australia, "Safety and efficacy of vertebroplasty for acute painful osteoporotic fractures (VAPOUR): a multicenter, randomised, blinded, placebo-controlled trial," considered 120 patients. Sixty-one patients were randomly assigned to vertebroplasty and 59 to a placebo procedure. Only patients with severe pain of 7 or higher on a numeric rating scale (NRS) of 10 were enrolled.

After 14 days of treatment, 23 percent of patients in the vertebroplasty group reported an NRS pain of lower than 4. While 53 percent 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.

Almost 1.4 million patients in the world suffer fractures caused by osteoporosis. While many experience mild symptoms, a portion of them develop considerable pain and disability and require hospital admission.

Vertebroplasty could help them manage their pain and lead to reduced hospital stays, which would lead to overall health care savings. In addition, the study also found the procedure does not contribute to future fractures as was, at times, previously thought.

"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. "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

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Dr. Hirsch is an acknowledged thought leader in this form of minimally invasive spine surgery. He has lectured internationally, authored multiple peer-reviewed manuscripts and chaired various guideline committees on augmentation. He is Director of Interventional and Endovascular Neuroradiology as well as Vice Chair of Interventional Radiology at the Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts.

To speak with Dr. Hirsch, please contact Sangeetha Sarma at 301-395-5227 or ssarma@vancomm.com.

About the Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery

The Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery (SNIS) is a scientific and educational association dedicated to advancing the specialty of neurointerventional surgery through research, standard-setting and education and advocacy in order to provide the highest quality of patient care in diagnosing and treating diseases of the brain, spine, head and neck. http://www.snisonline.org. Follow us on Twitter @SNISinfo.

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