The main clinical symptoms of VCFs may include any of the following, alone or in combination:

  • Sudden onset of back pain
    An increase in pain intensity while standing or walking
    A decrease in pain intensity while lying on the back
    Limited spinal mobility
    Eventual height loss
    Eventual deformity and disability


Complications related to VCFs include:

  • Segmental Instability
  • Kyphosis
  • Neurological Complications

Patients with any of the following criteria
should not undergo these procedures:

  • A VCF that is completely healed or is responding effectively to conservative therapy
  • ​A VCF that has been present for more than one year
  • Greater than 80 to 90 percent collapse of the vertebral body
  • Spinal curvature such as scoliosis or kyphosis that is due to causes other than osteoporosis
  • Spinal stenosis or herniated discs with nerve or spinal cord compression and loss of neurological function not associated with a VCF
  • Untreated coagulopathy (a disease or condition affecting the blood’s ability to coagulate)
  • Osteomyelitis (an inflammation of the bone and bone marrow, usually caused by bacterial infection)
  • Discitis (nonbacterial inflammation of an intervertebral disc or disc space)
  • Significant compromise of the spinal canal caused by impeding bone fragment or tumor
  • Complication rates for vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty have been estimated at less than 2 percent for osteoporotic VCFs and up to 10 percent for malignant tumor-related VCFs. The benefits of surgery should always be weighed carefully against its risks. Although a large percentage of patients report significant pain relief after these two procedures, there is no guarantee that surgery will help every individual.

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