Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty procedures are image-guided, non-surgical treatments used to strengthen and stabilize a broken vertebra (back bone) that has been weakened by osteoporosis, cancer, or some other cause.
Individual vertebra weakened by disease can collapse suddenly under the force of normal, daily activity causing severe pain, limited mobility, and an inability to perform routine daily activities. Patients that have significant pain caused by a broken bone in the back and are feeling no relief, despite bed rest and taking pain medicines, may be candidates for either procedure.
What is the Difference Between Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty?
- Vertebroplasty is performed by injecting an orthopedic cement mixture through a needle into the fractured bone.
- Kyphoplasty also requires an injection of cement but first involves the insertion of a balloon into the compressed vertebral to elevate the fracture.
Preparing for Treatment
Prior to either procedure, patients are required to have diagnostic imaging such as spinal X-rays, a bone scan, or magnetic resonance (MRI) imaging to confirm the presence of a compression fracture. If an MRI cannot be performed because of a pacemaker or other medical factor, a computerized tomography (CT) scan can be done instead. Based on the diagnostic results, Dr. Tilara will recommend the procedure that is most beneficial.
About the Procedure
During either procedure, a patient is sedated (medicine for relaxation), and placed face down on an X-ray table. A local anesthetic (numbing agent) is applied to the back, near the fracture and IV antibiotics are given to prevent infection.
Vertebroplasty Using x-ray imaging, a small needle is inserted and precisely positioned within the fractured vertebra where cement is injected. Treatment generally takes about 1 hour allowing most patients go home the same day; however, sometimes an overnight hospital stay is needed.
Kyphoplasty A balloon catheter is inserted into the fractured vertebra using x-ray guidance and inflated with liquid under pressure. As the balloon inflates, it can help to actively restore the collapse in the vertebra due to the fracture and can also correct abnormal wedging of the broken vertebra. Once the balloon is maximally inflated, it is deflated and removed, and the cavity created is filled with thicker bone cement under lower pressure than in a vertebroplasty. The cement then hardens in place, with the goal of maintaining any correction of collapse and wedging.
Using x-ray imaging, a small needle is inserted and precisely positioned within the fractured vertebra where cement is injected. Treatment generally takes about 1 and allows patients to go home the same day of treatment.
After a vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty procedure, the cement hardens and stabilizes fractures to make the vertebral body more sturdy, which prevents further collapse and deformity. The stabilization of the fracture is the mechanism by which pain is relieved. These effects are apparent within the first 24 to 72 hours after treatment.