INTRODUCTION: Bony bridges were retrospectively investigated regarding the effectiveness in the healing process of osteoporotic vertebral burst fractures based on serial plain roentgenograms and computed tomography images.
SUBJECTS: One hundred patients were included in this study (50 to 92 years old). A mean radiological follow up period was 32.8 months (range 2 months to 14 years).
METHODS: All patients were classified into three groups. Group A was that bony bridges were formed newly (forty‐one patients). Group B was that bony bridges had been already formed before the fracture and grew larger after the injury (six patients). Group C was that bony bridges were not formed (fifty‐three patients).
RESULTS: Bony bridges grew larger from calluses occurred around the vertebral fractures 2 to 4 weeks after injury in group A. Low back pain on motion when getting up from bed disappeared completely 11 to 593 days (median 50 days) after injury, 76 days after injury in group A, 67.5 days in group B, and 39 days in group C. Low back pain on motion significantly disappeared early in group C.
Twenty‐five patients (nineteen patients in group A, one in group B, and five in group C) got into delayed union and suffered from low back pain on motion over three months after injury. Only four patients (two in each group A and C) complained of low back pain on motion one year after injury.
The collapse of anterior wall of the vertebral bodies in group A was significantly larger than that in group C at the first and the latest observation period.
DISCUSSION: When the osteoporotic vertebral burst fractures got into delayed union and/or more collapsed, bony bridges were often formed and seemed to help disappearance of low back pain on motion.