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Arizona Pain Specialists Contend Recent Vertebroplasty Studies are Misleading
Date:8/7/2009

f 1.7 and 2.6 for the facet injection procedure.

Dr. McJunkin said, "Note that patients who received the vertebroplasty procedure had greater reductions in pain, although this was not a statistically significant difference."

To demonstrate statistical differences between groups requires that the study have enough patients for the statistics to have sufficient power to detect the differences. Both studies reported that they were unable to enroll enough patients to have reasonable statistical power. One study noted that they needed 250 patients but only enrolled 131. "The trends in the data demonstrate that if the studies had enough patients, the group receiving vertebroplasty would have had significantly better pain reduction than the other treatment groups," noted Dr. Lynch.

Several large studies have examined and concluded the clinical benefit and efficacy of vertebroplasty for painful vertebral compression fractures. In 2006, Spine Journal released a systematic review of all available data showing 87% relief of pain with vertebroplasty. A 2007 study in the American Journal of Neuroradiology concluded that "Percutaneous Vertebroplasty is a safe and effective method to treat VCF. An immediate improvement in pain is expected for most patients, and disability, mobility, and pain medication use are improved during the short- and long-term periods."

Dr. Lynch agrees with this overall assessment. "Vertebroplasty is only one of several effective treatments, but for some patients it is the best option. These studies, like most studies, have several problems. It would be inappropriate for us to conclude that vertebroplasty is ineffective, as some reports have stated," he concludes.

Arizona Pain Specialists was co-founded by Dr. Paul Lynch and Dr. Tory McJunkin in Scottsdale, AZ. The clinic utilizes a comprehensive model including cutting-edge interventional
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SOURCE Arizona Pain Specialists
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