Efficacy and safety of vertebroplasty for treatment of painful osteoporotic spinal fractures: a randomised trial [ 2004 - 2007 ]

Also known as: A clinical trial of vertebroplasty for painful osteoporotic spinal fractures

Research Grant

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Researchers: Prof Rachelle Buchbinder (Principal investigator) ,  Dr David Connell Prof John Wark Prof Peter Ebeling Prof Richard Osborne
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Brief description Painful spinal or vertebral fractures are a substantial and growing public health problem and are a burden on the health care system. In Australia, 20-25% of women and 15-20% of men over the age of 50 will develop one or more fractures of their spine in their lifetime. Up to a half of these fractures will result in severe pain and disability. While the fractures generally heal within weeks or a few months, some are so painful that they require narcotic pain control, hospitalisation, and-or long-term nursing home care. Other problems include chronic pain, spinal deformities, loss of height and mobility and restricted breathing. Vertebroplasty is a new procedure consisting of injection of a type of 'bone cement' into the vertebrae to mend the break. It is an exciting treatment because for some people, this results in an immediate and sustained improvement in pain. Although rare, complications such as rib fracture, cement leakage and fractures in other vertebrae do occur. One particular concern is that the mechanical changes to the spine caused by the bone cement may cause long-term complications such as an increased risk of future fractures of treated or adjacent vertebrae. So far, there is very little evidence of the efficacy and safety of this new technology. Importantly, it has not been compared with usual medical care for fractures. In medical research it can be difficult to properly evaluate an exciting and 'apparently' effective treatment that doctors and patients demand. The main aim of this project is to determine whether vertebroplasty is an effective and safe treatment compared to usual medical care. We have a unique opportunity to evaluate vertebroplasty through a strong collaborative effort between the 3 centres currently offering this procedure in Melbourne. If vertebroplasty can be demonstrated to be an effective, safe and cost-effective treatment for painful osteoporotic spinal fractures this will be a valuable addition to current treatment options.

Funding Amount $AUD 586,250.00

Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants

Notes Standard Project Grant

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