OBJECTIVE - Most fractures treated with percutaneous vertebroplasty are subacute and less than 1 year old. We report our experience treating chronic vertebral fractures with vertebroplasty.
MATERIALS AND METHODS - Our database identified 41 patients with symptomatic fractures more than 1 year old. These patients were categorized into subgroups determined by fracture age: 12 months 1 day-24 months (n = 16) or more than 24 months 1 day (n = 25). Changes in pain and mobility for the study group were compared with those in 49 patients with fractures less than 1 year old.
RESULTS - Thirty-three (80%) of the 41 patients in the study group had improvement in pain-seven (17%) had complete and 26 (63%) had partial relief. Forty-five (92%) of the 49 control group patients had improvement in pain-24 (49%) had complete and 21 (43%) had partial relief. The number of patients achieving partial or complete relief of pain was not statistically different between groups (p > 0.05), although complete relief was significantly more frequent in the control group (p = 0.002). Twenty patients (49%) in the study group versus 34 patients (69%) in the control group had improved mobility after vertebroplasty (p = 0.047). Patients with fractures 12 months 1 day-24 months old had improvement in mobility similar to that in patients in the control group (p = 0.962). Fractures more than 24 months 1 day old were associated with significantly less improvement in mobility (p = 0.006).
CONCLUSION - Most patients with fractures more than 1 year old will experience clinical benefit from vertebroplasty. Complete relief of pain is more likely when less mature fractures are treated.