2 spinal fracture treatments can reduce or eliminate opioid use, lower payer costs, study finds


Balloon kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty procedures for spinal fractures were found to help reduce oral opioid use and decrease payer costs, according to a study published in Osteoporosis International.

Researchers analyzed opioid prescription patterns and payer costs for 8,845 patients who had a balloon kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty to treat vertebral compression fractures. More than 57 percent of patients who had any baseline opioid use decreased or stopped opioid prescription fills, the study found. Those who decreased or discontinued opioid use also saw an average payer cost reduction of $6,759.

The study concluded: "Interventional treatment for VCF was associated with decreased or discontinued opioid prescription fills and reduced payer costs in follow-up in a significant proportion of the study population. Reduction of opioid-based harms may represent a previously unrecognized benefit of vertebral augmentation for VCF, especially in this elderly and medically fragile population."

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