Vertebropasty and Kyphoplasty are two innovative, minimally invasive, non-surgical procedures that strengthen the vertebrae of your spine and significantly improve pain caused by vertebral body compression fractures. Fractures are often secondary to osteoporosis, cancer metastasis, or trauma.
Causes / Predisposing Factors
The syndromes most commonly requiring Vertebroplasty & Kyphoplasty include:
- Bone cancer metastasis
Vertebroplasty is an outpatient technique that involves injecting acrylic cement with a biopsy needle into the fractured painful vertebra. Your doctor will administer a local anesthetic with a small needle to numb the skin at the area of the procedure. The needle is placed with x-ray guidance for accuracy. The acrylic cement quickly dries and forms a support structure within the vertebra that provides stabilization and strength. The needle makes a small puncture in your skin that is easily covered with a small bandage after the procedure.
Kyphoplasty is also referred to Balloon Assisted Vertebroplasty. Kyphosis or “hump back” is curving of the spine due to the collapse of the vertebrae. This can be very debilitating and painful for the person who experiences it. This method involves placing needles into the fractured vertebra, and the under x-ray guidance placing a strong inflatable balloon into the vertebra. When the balloon is inflated, it makes a space in the center of the vertebrae where acrylic cement can be injected using low pressure. The technique works very similarly to Vertebroplasty, but the inflation of the balloon may result in an increase in the vertebral body height.
Vertebroplasty is a frequently used procedure that has proven to reduce pain, increase vertebral body height, and decrease wedge angle without worsening of the retropulsion of the vertebrae.
Kyphoplasty has been shown to restore vertebral height and vertical alignment that was damaged by the collapse of the vertebrae. Patients with compression fractures typically exhibit kyphosis. Kyphoplasty was shown to enhance height reduction and accounted for over 80% of the height restoration that was lost. Kyphoplasty also showed that 90.7% of fractures improved following the procedure. If height restoration is considered to be a goal, then Kyphoplasty may have some advantages over Vertebroplasty.
As with all medications and surgical procedures, there is always a risk of complications. Kyphoplasty and Vertebroplasty are considered appropriate non-surgical, minimally invasive treatments for many patients who suffer from back pain. Some of the associated risks that can be produced are from the leak of acrylic cement outside of the vertebral body.
Although severe complications are extremely rare, it is important to know that infection, bleeding, numbness, tingling, headache, and paralysis may occur due to misplacement of the needle or cement. This particular risk is decreased by the use of x-ray or other radiological imaging to ensure proper placement of the cement.
Although there are potential risks, published studies indicate that Kyphoplasty and Vertebroplasty are safe methods of treating painful vertebral compression fractures and complications are rare with these procedures.
If you do suffer a painful compression fractures, you may be good candidates for minimally invasive procedures that have been proven effective, including Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty. Most people treated with these procedures showed partial or complete immediate pain relief.