Is kyphoplasty better than vertebroplasty in restoring normal mechanical function to an injured spine?

Luo, Jin ORCID:, Bertram, Wendy, Sangar, Davinder, Adams, Michael A., Annesley-Williams, Deborah J. and Dolan, Patricia (2009) Is kyphoplasty better than vertebroplasty in restoring normal mechanical function to an injured spine? Bone, 46 (4). pp. 1050-1057. ISSN 8756-3282

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Kyphoplasty is gaining in popularity as a treatment for painful osteoporotic vertebral body fracture. It has the potential to restore vertebral shape and reduce spinal deformity, but the actual clinical and mechanical benefits of kyphoplasty remain unclear. In a cadaveric study, we compare the ability of vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty to restore spine mechanical function, and vertebral body shape, following vertebral fracture.


Fifteen pairs of thoracolumbar “motion segments” (two vertebrae with the intervening disc and ligaments) were obtained from cadavers aged 42–96 years. All specimens were compressed to induce vertebral body fracture. Then one of each pair underwent vertebroplasty and the other kyphoplasty, using 7 ml of polymethylmethacrylate cement. Augmented specimens were compressed for 2 hours to allow consolidation. At each stage of the experiment, motion segment stiffness was measured in bending and compression, and the distribution of loading on the vertebrae was determined by pulling a miniature pressure transducer through the intervertebral disc. Disc pressure measurements were performed in flexed and extended postures with a compressive load of 1.0–1.5 kN. They revealed the intradiscal pressure (IDP) which acts on the central vertebral body, and they enabled compressive load-bearing by the neural arch (FN) to be calculated. Changes in vertebral height and wedge angle were assessed from radiographs. The volume of leaked cement was determined by water displacement. Volumetric bone mineral density (BMD) of each vertebral body was calculated using DXA and water displacement.


Vertebral fracture reduced motion segment compressive stiffness by 55%, and bending stiffness by 39%. IDP fell by 61–88%, depending on posture. FN increased from 15% to 36% in flexion and from 30% to 58% in extension (P < 0.001). Fracture reduced vertebral height by an average 0.94 mm and increased vertebral wedging by 0.95° (P < 0.001). Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty were equally effective in partially restoring all aspects of mechanical function (including stiffness, IDP, and FN), but vertebral wedging was reduced only by kyphoplasty (P < 0.05). Changes in mechanical function and vertebral wedging were largely maintained after consolidation, but height restoration was not. Cement leakage was similar for both treatments.


Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty were equally effective at restoring mechanical function to an injured spine. Only kyphoplasty was able to reverse minor vertebral wedging.

Item Type: Article
Identifier: 10.1016/j.bone.2009.11.036
Keywords: Vertebroplasty, Kyphoplasty, Spinal deformity, Cadaver, Spinal mechanics
Subjects: Construction and engineering > Biomedical engineering
Medicine and health > Clinical medicine > Therapeutics
Medicine and health > Clinical medicine
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Jin Luo
Date Deposited: 08 May 2020 17:48
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2024 16:02


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