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Evidence to Improve Care

Vertebral Augmentation Involving Vertebroplasty or Kyphoplasty for Cancer-Related Vertebral Compression Fractures


Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee Recommendations

  • The Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee recommends that vertebral augmentation (either vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty) be publicly funded and made accessible for appropriately selected cancer patients with vertebral compression fractures.

  • The Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee recommends that Cancer Care Ontario provide the provincial oversight for vertebral augmentation services for cancer patients and work with clinical experts to determine the criteria needed for patient selection for kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty.

Read the full OHTAC Recommendation report



Cancer can start in one part of the body and spread to other regions, causing significant pain and reducing a patient’s ability to walk or carry out everyday activities such as bathing, dressing, and eating. When cancer spreads to or occurs in a bone of the spine (a vertebral bone), the cancer can weaken and break this bone. These fractures, if left untreated, can negatively affect quality of life.


Health Quality Ontario Reviews Vertebral Augmentation for Cancer-Related Vertebral Compression Fractures

Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are two procedures that stabilize a spinal fracture. Both involve the injection of bone cement into the broken vertebral bone. With kyphoplasty, a small balloon is first inserted into the vertebral bone to restore height and create a space to inject the cement.


Vertebral Augmentation Involving Vertebroplasty or Kyphoplasty for Cancer-Related Vertebral Compression Fractures: A Systematic Review (PDF)
May 2016

Vertebral Augmentation Involving Vertebroplasty or Kyphoplasty for Cancer-Related Vertebral Compression Fractures: An Economic Analysis (PDF)
May 2016


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The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has accepted this recommendation.

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has provided the following response: The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and Cancer Care Ontario have accepted this recommendation. Cancer Care Ontario is providing funding to support vertebral augmentation procedures to appropriately selected cancer patients in the province.




Health Technology Assessment at Health Quality Ontario

As part of our core function to promote health care supported by the best available evidence, we use established scientific methods to analyze the evidence for a wide range of health interventions, including diagnostic tests, medical devices, interventional and surgical procedures, health care programs and models of care. These analyses are informed by input from a range of individuals, including patients and clinical experts. The Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee (OHTAC) — a committee of the Health Quality Ontario board of directors — reviews the evidence and makes recommendations about whether health care interventions should be publicly funded or not. Draft recommendations are posted on the Health Quality Ontario website for feedback. Final recommendations are approved by our board of directors and then shared with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. For more detailed information, visit our Evidence to Improve Care pages.



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