Vertebroplasty in the mid- and upper thoracic spine

David F. Kallmes, Patricia A. Schweickert, William F. Marx, Mary E. Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Vertebroplasty performed in the mid-and upper thoracic spine presents technical challenges that differ from those in the lower thoracic and lumbar region. We herein report results of percutaneous vertebroplasty for treatment of painful, osteoporotic compression fractures in the mid- and upper thoracic spine. METHODS: Retrospective chart review identified vertebroplasty treatments performed for painful osteoporotic compression fractures at T4-T8. The following were catalogued: percentage of vertebral body compression, needle size, surgical approach, clinical outcome, volume of cement injected, and complications. RESULTS: Sixty-three vertebral bodies were treated in 41 patients. Mean percentage of compression was 44%. Bipediculate injections were used in 12 (19%) of 63 treatment levels, and unipediculate injections were used in 51 (81%) of treatments (75 injections performed). Eleven-gauge needles were used for 55 (73%) of the 75 injections, and 13-gauge needles were used for 20 (27%). Clinical follow-up was available for 76% of the patients. Mean pre- and postoperative pain intensity was 9.7 ± 1.0 and 1.7 ± 1.9, respectively (P < .0001). Mean pre- and postoperative medication scores were 3.4 ± 0.7 and 1.7 ± 1.7, respectively (P = .075). Fracture involving the pedicle used for needle access was noted in one (1.3%) of 75 injections; this pedicle had been traversed using a 13-gauge needle. Staphylococcus epidermidis infection occurred in one case. No cases of pneumothorax were noted. CONCLUSION: Transpedicular vertebroplasty is readily and safely performed using 11- gauge needles in the mid- and upper thoracic regions, yielding excellent pain relief and low complication rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1117-1120
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Aug 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology


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