Vertebroplasty for vertebral compression fractures: Placebo or effective?

Arvin Wali, Joel Martin, Robert Rennert, Daniel Resnick, William Taylor, Peter Warnke, Clark Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Vertebral compression fractures (VCFs) are a major cause of pain and disability. Here, we reviewed six randomized control trials (RCTs) focusing on the efficacy vs. placebo effect of vertebroplasty (VP) for symptomatic VCF. Four RCTs involved a nonsurgically treated control group. Two RCTs compared the use of VP vs. a sham surgery control group. Notably, RCTs comparing nonsurgically treated patients as a control group vs. those undergoing VP uniformly reported that VP contributed to improved pain relief. In contrast, RCTs comparing sham surgery vs. VP uniformly reported no significant differences between the two groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSurgical Neurology International
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Surgical Neurology International | Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow.


  • Placebo effect
  • Randomized-controlled trials
  • Sham-controlled surgery
  • Vertebral compression fractures
  • Vertebroplasty


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