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A new study led by Mayo Clinic researchers has found that relief of pain from vertebral compression fractures, as well as improvement in pain-related dysfunction, were similar in patients treated with vertebroplasty and those treated with simulated vertebroplasty without cement injections. The article, "A Randomized Controlled Trial of Vertebroplasty for Osteoporotic Spine Fractures," was released today in the New England Journal of Medicine. Vertebroplasty is a widely applied procedure in which medical cement is injected into the spine to relieve pain and improve function in patients who have osteoporotic fractures. This study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, was the first of its kind, using a double-blinded research model to examine the impact of vertebroplasty. "Though the medical community has been using vertebroplasty for many years, there were no research results to prove whether the efficacy of the treatment relates to the cement injections, patient expectations, or other factors," says the study's leader, David Kallmes, M.D., a Mayo Clinic physician who specializes in radiology and neurosurgery. "The cement is a permanent medical implant, and there is some concern that it places patients at future risk for additional spinal fractures."