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Prospective assessment of pain and functional status after vertebroplasty for treatment of vertebral compression fractures


Background and purpose There has been no prospective evaluation of vertebroplasty using a validated instrument. We describe the pain and functional status of 72 patients before and after vertebroplasty, as prospectively evaluated by the Vertebral Compression Fracture Pain and Functional Disability Questionnaire.

Methods Of 161 consecutive patients, 72 consented to participate in the study and self-completed the questionnaire prior to undergoing vertebroplasty. Differences in pain and distress before and after vertebroplasty, and between the first and second follow-up intervals, were evaluated. Mean scores for each of 24 activities of daily living (ADLs) were plotted at the baseline and first and second follow-up intervals.

Results The mean (SD) patient age was 74 (10) years; 80% were female. On the 0 (no pain) to 10 (pain as bad as it could be) visual analog pain scale, patients reported significantly more pain, on average, before undergoing percutaneous vertebroplasty (PV) than at the first follow-up interval (mean 5.8 vs 3.5, p<0.001). The reduction in reported pain following vertebroplasty persisted at the second follow-up on both the visual analog and adjectival pain scales. Among the 24 ADLs, between 25% and 69% of patients reported a mean improvement of at least 1 level on the 5-point ADL scale, and between 14% and 55% reported a mean improvement of at least two levels. The majority of the improvement in reported functional status following vertebroplasty was sustained at the second follow-up interval.

Conclusion PV resulted in substantial, lasting reduction in pain and improvement in ability to perform ADLs.

  • Spine
  • Interventions and basic science

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