Cent Eur Neurosurg 2011; 72(04): 176-180
DOI: 10.1055/s-0031-1284415
Original Article
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Balloon Kyphoplasty Improves Back Pain but does not Result in a Permanent Realignment of the Thoracolumbar Spine

H. C. Friedrich
1   Rhönklinikum Pirna, Unfallchirurgie, Pirna, Germany
H. J. Friedrich
2   SRH Waldklinikum Gera, Orthopädie, Unfallchirurgie, Gera, Germany
P. Kneisel
3   SRH Waldklinikum Gera, Radiologie, Gera, Germany
J. Drumm
4   SRH Klinikum Karlsbad-Langensteinbach GmbH Wirbelsäulenchirurgie, Neurotraumatologie, Karlsbad, Germany
T. Pitzen
4   SRH Klinikum Karlsbad-Langensteinbach GmbH Wirbelsäulenchirurgie, Neurotraumatologie, Karlsbad, Germany
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
29 September 2011 (online)



Balloon kyphoplasty (BKP) has been established as a standard procedure for treatment of osteoporotic compression fractures of the spine in elderly patients, as it results in pain relief for most of the patients. Moreover, BKP may result in a partial realignment of the sagittal shape of the vertebra and the spine. However, it is unclear whether BKP may result in long-term improvement of the sagittal alignment of the spine. The aim of the current study was to investigate if there is a significant loss of correction of the sagittal alignment of the thoracolumbar spine following BKP.


A prospective, noncontrolled, nonrandomized study, consisting of 71 patients treated for single level osteoporotic compression fracture by BKP at 1 institution and by 1 surgeon, was done. We checked the following radiographic outcome parameters: Beck’s ratio, the kyphosis angle of the treated vertebra, the angle of kyphosis including the treated vertebra and the adjacent disc (monosegmental angle), the angle of kyphosis, including the treated segment, the adjacent disc as well as the adjacent vertebra (bisegmental angle).


BKP resulted in significant pain relief with a score decreasing from 7.11 to 1.73 on a visual analogue scale immediately after the procedure. The effekt persisted after 1 year with a score of 1.58 VAS points. BKP also led to an improvement of each radiographic outcome parameter immediately after surgery. Beck’s ratio was improved from 0.71 to 0.83. The Cobb’s angle of the relevant vertebral bodies decreased from 11.4° to 6.8°. Monosegmental and bisegmental kyphosis angles decreased from 8.12° to 4.9° and from 6.9° to 4.5° respectively. Within 1 year, however, there was a significant loss of correction in each radiographic parameter analyzed. Beck’s ratio decreased to 0.72, Cobb’s angle increased to 10.8°, and the mono- and bisegmental kyphosis angles to 8.8° and 8.3°, respectively.


BKP does not result in a permanent realignment of the thoracolumbar spine following treatment of single level osteoporotic compression fractures.