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Journal of Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants
SJR: 0.332 SNIP: 0.491 CiteScore™: 0.89

ISSN Print: 1050-6934
ISSN Online: 1940-4379

Journal of Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants

DOI: 10.1615/JLongTermEffMedImplants.2016015937
pages 205-208

Vertebral Augmentation for Osteoporotic Compression Fractures: Review of the Fracture Reduction Evaluation Trial

Nathan Evaniew
Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, Center for Evidence-Based Orthopaedics, McMaster University, 293 Wellington St. N., Suite 110, Hamilton, ON L8L 8E7, Canada


Osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures affect more than 1 million patients worldwide each year. Percutaneous balloon kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive vertebral augmentation procedure that aims to stabilize fractured vertebral compression fractures rapidly and improve spinal deformity. The Fracture Reduction Evaluation (FREE) trial was the first randomized trial to compare balloon kyphoplasty against nonoperative management and it remains a landmark trial today. On the basis of this single trial, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons made a "weak" recommendation that "kyphoplasty is an option" for patients presenting with osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures. Ongoing controversy remains about the effectiveness of this technique compared with placebo or sham surgery and other vertebral augmentation procedures. Economic analyses suggest that kyphoplasty is cost-effective, but complication rates and long-term outcomes remain poorly defined.