A new study has suggested that surgery reduces the likelihood of death by up to 44 per cent for those suffering spinal fractures, compared with those who are just given bed rest and painkillers.
Those treated with a pioneering procedure, in which balloons are inserted into fractures before the cavity is filled with bone cement, had particularly high survival rates.
Experts said that the study is the first to prove the benefits of surgery in spinal fractures and will lead to better treatment for patients.
"We've known for a long time about the benefits of minimally invasive surgical intervention in the reduction of pain but this is the first time we seem to have robust data showing that it can highly contribute to saving lives. Treating vertebral fractures by balloon kyphoplasty is cost effective and prevents people from lingering in pain. We now have even more compelling reasons to make sure that this procedure becomes the standard of care for spinal fractures and ensure more patients have access to it," the Telegraph quoted Michael Kotrba, Consultant Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgeon at Croydon University Hospital, as saying.
The study showed for the first time that surgery is a far better option.
"In the operated patients there was a significant reduction in mortality (44 per cent), compared to the non-operated VCF patients," said the study, which was carried out by the consulting firm Exponent, Inc and Medtronic, which pioneered the surgical technique.
The research has been presented at the spring meeting of the British Geriatric Society.