New evidence is in on vertebroplasty and it isn't good.
A fast-growing medical procedure that injects medical cement into the spine to treat fractures apparently works no better than a placebo.That's the conclusion of a New England Journal of Medicine study released Wednesday.
Americans prize advances in technology. However, if in major medical challenges, such as osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures, the alternative is to pay the cost of perpetual uncertainty, we need to support the research necessary to provide sufficient efficacy and safety information for patients to make a truly informed choice. Although the trials by Kallmes et al. and Buchbinder et al. provide the best available scientific evidence for an informed choice, it remains to be seen whether there will be a paradigm shift in the treatment of vertebral compression fractures with vertebroplasty or similar procedures.
Indeed, we've seen it before - when evidence overwhelmingly challenges a particular approach in medicine, it does not, necessarily, change the way doctors practice.
By the way, across town, the Star Tribune, with a bigger staff than the Pioneer Press, simply ran a 154-word brief taken from an Associated Press news wire story.
The Star Tribune did nothing more despite the fact that the story had at least three local angles that the Pioneer Press clearly saw:
• Mayo-led study
• local company involved in the product in question
• another local company involved in a competing approach