Twenty-five patients, who did not have osteoporosis and who were between the ages of seventeen and sixty years, were treated for one or more stable compression fractures of a vertebra with compaction of less than 50 per cent and without an associated neurological deficit. The patients were followed for a minimum of nine years. Associated vertebral fractures (12 per cent) were identified during the first three months after the injury, but no deformity progressed after three months. Radiographic changes of degenerative disc disease were evident in eight patients, but the changes did not correlate with symptoms or with level of activity. With one exception, all patients functioned as well as uninjured subjects of comparable age. Patients who have a compression fracture of a vertebra should have serial radiographs made for at least three months to ensure that all fractured vertebrae are identified and to document any progression of deformity.
Copyright 1988 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated