Unilateral versus bilateral balloon kyphoplasty in the treatment of osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures.
Bilateral and unilateral approaches are the main methods for balloon kyphoplasty. However, controversy exists about which leads to superior outcomes. The goal of this study was to compare the clinical effects and safety of unilateral vs bilateral balloon kyphoplasty for osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures. Five databases (PubMed, Cochrane Library, EMBASE, Web of Science, and Chinese Biomedical Database) were searched without language, publication, or date restrictions. Randomized controlled trials involving a total of 876 patients and comparing the efficacy of unilateral vs bilateral balloon kyphoplasty for osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures were identified. Meta-analysis revealed no significant differences in visual analog scale pain score up to 2-year follow-up (mean difference at 1 week, 0.17 [95% confidence interval (CI), -0.11 to 0.44]; mean difference at 1 year, 0.01 [95% CI, -0.29 to 0.32]; mean difference at 2 years, 0.28 [95% CI, -0.13 to 0.70]), Oswestry Disability Index pain score up to 1-year follow-up (mean difference at 1 week, 1.28 [95% CI, -2.62 to 5.17]; mean difference at 1 year, 1.87 (95% CI, -5.33 to 9.06]), anterior and middle vertebral height (mean difference anterior, -0.13 [95% CI, -0.32 to 0.06]; mean difference middle, -0.16 [95% CI, -0.36 to 0.03]), or kyphotic angle (mean difference, -0.02 [95% CI, -0.65 to 0.61]); however, the unilateral approach resulted in a shorter operative time (mean difference, -19.33 [95% CI, -4.42 to -14.24]), smaller amount of cement injected (mean difference, -2.07 [95% CI, -2.42 to -1.71]), and lower risk of cement leakage (mean difference, 0.47 [95% CI, 0.24-0.92]) than the bilateral approach. The unilateral approach resulted in pain relief and vertebral height and kyphotic angle restoration comparable with that of bilateral kyphoplasty. The unilateral approach should be considered an effective option for the treatment of osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures.