Benefits vs. Risks of Vertebroplasty & Kyphoplasty

Vertebroplasty & Kyphoplasty Benefits

  • Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty can increase a patient's functional abilities, allow a return to the previous level of activity without any form of physical therapy or rehabilitation and prevent further vertebral collapse.
  • These procedures are usually successful at alleviating the pain caused by a vertebral compression fracture; many patients feel significant relief almost immediately. Many patients become symptom-free.
  • Following vertebroplasty, about 75 percent of patients regain lost mobility and become more active.
  • After the procedure, patients who had been immobile can get out of bed, reducing their risk of pneumonia. Increased activity builds more muscle strength, further encouraging mobility.
  • Usually, vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are safe and effective procedures.
  • No surgical incision is needed—only a small nick in the skin that does not have to be stitched closed.

Vertebroplasty & Kyphoplasty Risks

  • Any procedure where the skin is penetrated carries a risk of infection. The chance of infection requiring antibiotic treatment appears to be less than one in 1,000.
  • A small amount of orthopedic cement can leak out of the vertebral body. This does not usually cause a serious problem, unless the leakage moves into a potentially dangerous location such as the spinal canal.
  • Other possible complications include infection, bleeding, increased back pain and neurological symptoms such as numbness or tingling. Paralysis is extremely rare.
  • There is a risk of allergic reaction to the contrast material used for intraosseous venography or to help visualize the balloon as it inflates on the X-ray.