Balloon Kyphoplasty Is a Safe and Effective Option for the Treatment of Vertebral Compression Fractures in Solid-Organ Transplant Recipients

By London Spine

OBJECTIVES: Solid-organ transplant recipients are at great risk for osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures because of both underlying pretransplant bone diseases and posttransplant immunosuppressive treatments. Balloon kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that is used to treat painful osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures. It involves injection of polymethylmethacrylate into the vertebral body to stabilize the fracture and to alleviate the pain immediately. In this study, we report the results of balloon kyphoplasty for treatment of vertebral compression fractures in solid-organ transplant recipients. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed 512 liver transplant and 2248 kidney transplant procedures that were performed in our center between 1985 and 2015. Seven transplant recipients with a total of 10 acute, symptomatic vertebral compression fractures who were unresponsive to conservative treatment for 3 weeks underwent balloon kyphoplasty. Clinical outcome was graded using the visual analog scale. Radiographic evaluation included measurement of the segmental kyphosis by the Cobb method. RESULTS: There were 4 female and 3 male patients in our study group. Ages of patients ranged from 56 to 63 years with an average age of 58.8 years. The affected vertebral levels varied from T12 to L4. Mean follow-up after balloon kyphoplasty was 3.4 years, and mean time interval from transplant to balloon kyphoplasty was 8.6 years. Statistically significant difference is evident 3 years after transplant surgery (P < .05). Sagittal alignment improved (> 5 degrees) in 2 of 7 patients (28%). CONCLUSIONS: Transplant recipients are at great risk in terms of vertebral compression fracture development, especially within 1 year after transplant. Although conservative treatment has been the first treatment choice for vertebral compression fracture, long treatment time and high costs may be needed to achieve cure. Experience with our small patient population showed that balloon kyphoplasty was effective and safe for obtaining rapid pain relief and earlier mobilization with fewer complications