Radiculopathy following vertebral body compression fracture: The role of percutaneous cement augmentation

David Gimarc, Alexandria Jensen, Kimberly Lind, Mary K. Jesse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Vertebral cement augmentation is a commonly used procedure in patients with vertebral body compression fractures from primary or secondary osteoporosis, metastatic disease, or trauma. Many of these patients present with radiculopathy as a presenting symptom, and can experience symptomatic relief following the procedure. Objectives: To determine the incidence of preprocedural radiculopathy in patients with vertebral body compression fractures presenting for cement augmentation, and present their postoperative outcomes. Study Design: Retrospective cohort study. Setting: Interventional pain practice in a tertiary care university hospital. Methods: In this cohort study, all patients who underwent kyphoplasty (KP) or vertebroplasty (VP) procedures in a 7-year period within our practice were evaluated through a search of the electronic medical records. The primary endpoint was to evaluate the prevalence of noncompressive preprocedural radiculopathy in our patients. Evaluation of each patient’s relative improvement following the procedure, respective to the initial presence or absence of radicular symptoms (including and above T10, above and below T10, and below T10) was included as a secondary endpoint. Additional subanalysis was performed with respect to patients demographics, fracture location, and primary indication for the procedure (osteoporosis, trauma, etc.). Results: A total of 302 procedures were performed during this time period, encompassing 544 total vertebral body levels. After exclusion criteria were applied to this cohort, 31.6% of patients demonstrated radiculopathy prior to the procedure that could not be explained by nerve impingement. Nearly half of patients demonstrated an optimal clinical outcome (48.5% nearly complete/complete resolution of symptoms, 40.1% partial resolution of symptoms, 11.4% little to no resolution of symptoms). Patients with fractures above T10 were more likely to see complete resolution, whereas patients with fractures above and below T10 were likely to not see any resolution. Men and women without initial radiculopathy symptoms were more likely to see little to no resolution, regardless of fracture location. Limitations: This retrospective study used an electronic chart review of clinicians’ notes to determine the presence of radiculopathy and their relative improvement following the procedure. Conclusions: Preprocedural radiculopathy is a common symptom of patients presenting for the evaluation of VP or KP. The presence of radiculopathy in the absence of nerve impingement may be an important marker for those patients who may experience greater benefit from the procedure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-323
Number of pages9
JournalPain physician
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Cement augmentation
  • Compression fracture
  • Kyphoplasty
  • Osteoporosis
  • Radiculopathy
  • Spine
  • Vertebroplasty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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