A Retrospective Analysis in 1347 Patients Undergoing Cement Augmentation for Osteoporotic Vertebral Compression Fracture: Is the Sandwich Vertebra at a Higher Risk of Further Fracture?

Neurosurgery 88(2) 2021: 342–348

Multiple percutaneous vertebral cement augmentation may create sandwich vertebrae. Whether the sandwich vertebra is at higher risk of further fracture remains unknown.

OBJECTIVE: To compare the incidence of further fractures of sandwich vertebrae and adjacent vertebrae and to identify potential risk factors for sandwich vertebral fractures.

METHODS: Patients who underwent cement augmentation for osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures (OVCFs) in a single medical center between January 2012 and December 2015 were included. A sandwich vertebra was defined as an intact vertebra located between 2 previously cemented vertebrae. Demographic data and imaging findings were recorded. All patients were followed up for at least 24 mo postoperatively. During follow-up period, if the patient reported new-onset back pain with corresponding imaging findings, a diagnosis of sandwich vertebral fracture was made.

RESULTS: Among the 1347 patients who underwent vertebroplasty/kyphoplasty for OVCFs, 127 patients with 128 fracture levels met the criteria for sandwich vertebrae (females/males 100/27,mean age 77.8±7.7 yr old). The fracture locationwas most common in the thoraco-lumbar junction (T10-L2), 68.5% (87/127). The incidence of sandwich vertebral fracturewas 21.3%,whereas the incidence of adjacent level fracture of those with no sandwich vertebra was 16.4% (196/1194), P= .1879.

CONCLUSION: The incidence of sandwich vertebral fracture is not higher than that at the adjacent levels. The factor associated with further sandwich vertebral fracture was male gender. Once sandwich vertebral fracture occurred, patients may seek more surgical intervention than those with only adjacent fractures.