Vertebroplasty & Kyphoplasty
Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are minimally invasive procedures to treat vertebral compression fractures commonly associated with low-energy injuries and underlying osteoporosis.
These procedures are indicated in patients with severe or unrelenting back pain that is not managed with traditional non-operative treatments of bracing and pain medications.
Vertebroplasty & Kyphoplasty in Osteoporosis Patients
Osteoporosis is one of the key reasons people suffer vertebral compression fractures requiring vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty. Osteoporosis is a condition more common in the elderly that results in weakening of the bones via a reduction in the quantity of bone minerals that are absorbed.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that more than 55 percent of people in the U.S. over the age of 50 suffer from osteoporosis or a similar disease resulting in bone weakness, and women are at a greater risk. Vertebral compression fractures among this group are still relatively rare.
What are Vertebroplasty & Kyphoplasty?
- Vertebroplasty — a spinal surgery involving a hollow needle being inserted through a small puncture in the skin and the fractured bone being filled with a cement mixture to stabilize the fracture, prevent further collapse of the vertebral body, and reduce or eliminate pain.
- Kyphoplasty — a procedure that involves the use of a hollow needle and an inflatable balloon inserted into the fractured vertebra and inflated to create a cavity. This cavity is then filled with a cement mixture. The balloon inflation can result in some correction of the vertebral body collapse.
Both procedures use simultaneous X-ray to monitor placement of the needle and quantity of cement. Before trying vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty, your Midwest Orthopedic Specialty Hospital doctor will try non-invasive treatments, such as bed rest, a back brace or pain medication.
Why is Vertebroplasty & Kyphoplasty Used?
Vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty may be used if your surgeon believes that open spinal surgery may be too invasive, especially if you are an older patient, or could be at great risk due to other factors. Vertebroplasty procedures may be used in a case where a malignant tumor is causing vertebral compression/collapse.
Both vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty procedures should ideally be performed within eight weeks of the initial fracture for the best results, but your surgeon will be able to discuss with you the likelihood of successful back surgery based on the exact nature of your spinal condition.
Before surgery, a full physical exam and a series of diagnostic tests will be performed by your doctor to ensure that the problem is one best suited for vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty surgery. This may include MRI scans, CT scans or radioisotope bone scans.
What to Expect from Vertebroplasty & Kyphoplasty Surgery
Prior to surgery, you will be required to inform your doctor of any medications you are taking, including any herbal supplements. It is also likely you will have blood drawn prior to the procedure to ensure that your blood clots normally.
Although vetebroplasty or kyphoplasty requires insertion of a needle into the vertebra, it is usually an outpatient back surgery, meaning you will not be required to stay overnight in the hospital.
For the first 24 hours after vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty, you will likely need to rest in bed. You can increase your activities gradually and most regular medications can be resumed. There may be some soreness for a few days at the puncture site which may be relieved with an ice pack.
Many patients undergoing a vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty experience a dramatic reduction in pain within 24 to 48 hours and increased ability to perform daily activities shortly thereafter. Typically, vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty can relieve pain from vertebral compression fractures for up to nearly three years.