Studies that compared balloon kyphoplasty to any medical or surgical treatment in more than 10 adults with spinal fractures of malignant origin were eligible for inclusion if they provided data on at least one of the following outcomes: pain, functional capacity, quality of life, vertebral height, kyphotic angle, cement leakages, clinical complications and new vertebral fractures.
Mean age in the included studies was 62 years, 51% were male and 57% had multiple myeloma. Most patients had persistent pain secondary to thoracic or lumbar collapses, despite painkillers and medical therapy. Balloon kyphoplasty was performed under general anaesthesia in all but one of the studies. The mean number of spinal levels treated ranged from one to six. Follow-up duration ranged from three months to two years.
Two reviewers independently assessed studies for inclusion.