Vertebroplasty & Kyphoplasty

Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are minimally invasive procedures for vertebral compression fractures (VCF), which are fractures in vertebra, the small bones that make up the spinal column.

When a vertebra fractures, the usual rectangular shape of the bone becomes compressed and distorted, causing pain. These compression fractures, which may involve the collapse of one or more vertebrae in the spine, are a common symptom and result of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease that results in a loss of normal bone density, mass and strength, leading to a condition in which bones are increasingly porous or full or small holes and vulnerable to breaking. Vertebrae can also become weakened by cancer.

In vertebroplasty, physicians use image guidance to inject a special cement mixture through a hollow needle into the fractured bone. In kyphohplasty, a balloon is first inserted through the needle into the fractured bone to restore the height and shape of the vertebra. Once the balloon is removed, the cement mixture is injected.

Common Uses of Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty

Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are used to treat pain caused by vertebral compression fractures in the spine.

Typically, vertebroplasty is recommended after simpler treatment, such as bed rest, a back brace or pain medication, have been ineffective, or once medications have begun to cause other problems, such as stomach ulcers. Vertebroplasty can be performed immediately in patients who have severe pain requiring hospitalization or conditions that limit bed rest and medications.

Vertebroplasty is also performed on patients who:

  • Are too elderly or frail to tolerate open spinal surgery, or who have bones too weak for surgical spinal repair
  • Have vertebral damage due to a malignant tumor
  • Are younger and have osteoporosis caused by long-term steroid treatment or a metabolic disorder

Kyphoplasty is performed on patients experiencing painful symptoms or spinal deformities due to vertebral compression fractures resulting from osteoporosis. The procedure should be completed within eight weeks of when the fracture occurs for the highest probability of restoring the spinal bone to its normal height.