Ulrich Josef Albert Spiegl, R. Beisse, S. Hauck, A. Grillhösl, V. Bühren

September 2009, Volume 18, Issue 9, pp 1287 - 1292 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-009-1045-2

First Online: 06 June 2009

Previous studies have shown the safety and effectiveness of balloon kyphoplasty in the treatment of osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures (OVCFs). MRI and particularly the short tau inversion recovery (STIR) sequence are very sensitive for detecting vertebral edema as a result of fresh fractures or micro-fractures. Therefore, it has a great therapeutic relevance in differentiating vertebral deformities seen by conventional X-ray and CT scans. Although an MRI scan is expensive, to my knowledge no study has evaluated the benefits of preoperative MRI in evaluating a therapeutic plan for kyphoplasty. This is a prospective study evaluating the benefit of a preoperative MRI scan regarding changes of kyphoplasty therapy. Twenty-eight patients were included in this study. Twenty-four patients were treated by balloon kyphoplasty, in a total of 40 vertebral bodies. The mean age was 73 years. All patients suffered from OVCFs. As a first step, all patients got a CT scan. The individual therapeutic plan was then defined by the patients’ history, complaints and the results of the CT scan. As far as all criteria for kyphoplasty were fulfilled, an MRI examination including the STIR sequences was performed preoperatively. The number of times a change was made in therapy as a result from the additional information from the MRI was then evaluated. By performing a preoperatively MRI examination, the therapy plan was changed in 16 out of 28 (57%) patients. Eight patients underwent additional levels of kyphoplasty at the same procedure. In five patients, lesions were found to be old fractures and therefore were not treated operatively. Two of these patients received no kyphoplasty at all. Another patient only a part of the originally intended levels was treated. The other two cases received a kyphoplasty at different vertebral levels, as these vertebral bodies showed signs of an acute fracture in the MRI scan. Additionally, an incidental diagnosis of carcinoma of the kidney was made in two patients. Kyphoplasty was deferred and they were referred for further evaluation. One patient was found to have an aortic aneurysm. Kyphoplasty was performed and after that the patient was referred in order to treat the aneurysm. This study confirms the diagnostic benefits of an MRI scan before performing a kyphoplasty. For 16 out of 28 patients, the therapeutic plan was changed because of the information obtained by preoperative MRI. Preoperative MRI helped to generate the correct surgical strategy, by demonstrating the correct location of injury and by detecting concomitant diseases.

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