Does the VAPOUR trial shed new light on the efficacy of vertebroplasty for acute painful osteoporotic fractures?
As the population of the United States ages, the incidence of osteoporosis and associated complications will continue to rise (1). Up to 750,000 cases of vertebral fracture occur annually, with incidence rates in elderly women approaching 1% per year (2,3). Osteoporotic vertebral fractures are a common source of significant morbidity and disability in elderly populations (4). Back pain, spinal deformities, and substantial reductions in quality of life are common consequences of osteoporotic vertebral fractures (5). Standard treatment for this pathology consists of conservative management including physical therapy, anti-osteoporosis pharmacotherapy, analgesia, and bracing. Although conservative management is typically successful, certain subsets of patients will fail to improve with non-operative therapy. Consequently, these patients may experience long term disability, increased frequency of hospitalization, and requirements for additional care (5).