Management of osteoporotic fractures of the thoracolumbar spine

Gregory P. Gebauer, A. Jay Khanna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Approximately 2 million people sustain an osteoporotic fracture in the United States each year; 25% of those are vertebral compression fractures. Most fractures can be treated nonoperatively, using a combination of bracing, physical therapy, and pain medications. Surgical treatment may be considered for patients with severe pain or who have failed nonoperative options. Surgical treatment options include vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty, which involve the injection of bone cement (polymethylmethacrylate) to augment vertebral bone strength; kyphoplasty adds the inflation of a balloon tamp to help reduce the fracture and create a space for the cement. The risk of cement extravasation is relatively high, especially during vertebroplasty; however, the incidence of symptomatic leaks is relatively low. Overall, both procedures offer low complication rates, excellent pain relief, and improved function after vertebral compression fractures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-66
Number of pages9
JournalSeminars in Spine Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2010


  • Kyphoplasty
  • Management
  • Osteoporosis
  • Vertebral compression fracture
  • Vertebroplasty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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