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Research on Chiropractic

Vertebroplasty (spinal cement surgery) no better than Sham Treatment

Two studies in the New England Journal of Medicine have recently concluded that Vertebroplasty, a very popular surgery that has been done for many years is no better than a sham (fake) treatment. This is the result of poor testing and patient tracking by the medical community as they release new surgeries onto the market. The surgery involves injecting a cement-like substance into the vertebra of osteoporotic elderly people.

Patients should realize that just because a surgery is being offered, does not mean there is sufficient evidence of its effectiveness. Several expensive heart surgeries are finding similar results when doing further studies. So, if your doctor is recommending Vertebroplasty to you, maybe you should bring these articles to your next visit.

Read the synopsis from the Associated Press on Spinal Cement (Vertebroplasty) no better than Sham for back pain

Here are the conclusions from each study:

A Randomized Trial of Vertebroplasty for Painful Osteoporotic Vertebral Fractures

New England Journal of Medicine - Volume 361:557-568 August 6, 2009 Number 6

Conclusions We found no beneficial effect of vertebroplasty as compared with a sham procedure in patients with painful osteoporotic vertebral fractures, at 1 week or at 1, 3, or 6 months after treatment.

A Randomized Trial of Vertebroplasty for Osteoporotic Spinal Fractures

New England Journal of Medicine - Volume 361:569-579 August 6, 2009 Number 6

Conclusions Improvements in pain and pain-related disability associated with osteoporotic compression fractures in patients treated with vertebroplasty were similar to the improvements in a control group.

Two studies in the New England Journal of Medicine have recently concluded that Vertebroplasty, a very popular surgery that has been done for many years is no better than a sham (fake) treatment.  This is the result of poor testing and patient tracking by the medical community as they release new surgeries onto the market.  The surgery involves injecting a cement-like substance into the vertebra of osteoporotic elderly people.

Patients should realize that just because a surgery is being offered, does not mean there is sufficient evidence of its effectiveness.  Several expensive heart surgeries are finding similar results when doing further studies.  So, if your doctor is recommending Vertebroplasty to you, maybe you should bring these articles to your next visit.

Read the synopsis from the Associated Press on Spinal Cement (Vertebroplasty) no better than Sham for back pain

Here are the conclusions from each study:

A Randomized Trial of Vertebroplasty for Painful Osteoporotic Vertebral Fractures

New England Journal of Medicine - Volume 361:557-568 August 6, 2009 Number 6

Conclusions We found no beneficial effect of vertebroplasty as compared with a sham procedure in patients with painful osteoporotic vertebral fractures, at 1 week or at 1, 3, or 6 months after treatment.

A Randomized Trial of Vertebroplasty for Osteoporotic Spinal Fractures

New England Journal of Medicine - Volume 361:569-579 August 6, 2009 Number 6

Conclusions Improvements in pain and pain-related disability associated with osteoporotic compression fractures in patients treated with vertebroplasty were similar to the improvements in a control group.