Vertebroplasty/Kyphoplasty

These procedures provide new options for compression fractures and are designed to relieve pain, reduce and stabilize fractures, and reduce spinal deformity.

About this Surgery

Used to treat: Scoliosis

Vertebroplasty is a minimally invasive, non-surgical procedure that is designed to relieve the pain of compression fractures. Vertebroplasty literally means fixing the vertebral body. In addition to relieving pain, those vertebral bodies that are weakened but not yet fractured can be strengthened, thus preventing future problems.

How is Vertebroplasty Performed?

Under general anesthesia, or sometimes under sedation, a special bone needle is passed slowly through the soft tissues of the back. Image guided x-ray, along with a small amount of x-ray dye, allows the position of the needle to be seen at all times. A small amount of orthopaedic cement, called polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA), is pushed through the needle into the vertebral body. PMMA is a medical grade bone cement that has been used for many years in a variety of orthopaedic procedures.

The cement is sometimes mixed with an antibiotic to reduce the risk of infection, and a powder containing barium or tantalum, which allows it to be seen on the x-ray. When the cement is injected, it is like a thick paste, but it hardens rapidly. Usually each vertebral body is injected on both the right and left sides, just off the midline of the back.

Within a few hours, patients are up and moving around. Most go home the same day.

 

 

Kyphoplasty is a newer treatment for patients immobilized by the painful vertebral body compression fractures associated with osteoporosis. Like vertebroplasty, kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that can alleviate up to 90% of the pain caused by compression fractures. In addition to relieving pain, kyphoplasty can also stabilize the fracture, restore height, and reduce deformity.

How is Kyphoplasty Performed?

Kyphoplasty is performed under local or general anesthesia. Using image guidance x-rays, two small incisions are made and a probe is placed into the vertebral space where the fracture is located. The bone is drilled and a balloon, called a bone tamp, is inserted on each side. These balloons are then inflated with contrast medium (to be seen using image guidance x-rays) until they expand to the desired height and removed. The balloon does not remain in the patient.   It simply creates a cavity for the cement and also helps expand the compressed bone.

The spaces created by the balloons are then filled with PMMA, the same orthopaedic cement used in vertebroplasty, binding the fracture. The cement hardens quickly, providing strength and stability to the vertebra, restoring height, and relieving pain.

 

 

Benefits of Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty

Limitations in the traditional treatments of vertebral compression fractures have led to the refinement of such procedures as vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty. These procedures provide new options for compression fractures and are designed to relieve pain, reduce and stabilize fractures, and reduce spinal deformity.

Additional benefits of these procedures include:

  • Short surgical time
  • Only general or local anesthesia required
  • Average hospital stay is one day (or less)
  • Patients can quickly return to the normal activities of daily living
  • No bracing required

 

Both vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty utilize a cement-like material that is injected directly into the fractured bone. This stabilizes the fracture and provides immediate pain relief, in many cases. Kyphoplasty has the additional advantage of being able to restore height to the spine, thus reducing deformity. After either procedure, most patients quickly return to their normal daily activities.

While vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are encouraging developments, it remains essential that osteoporosis sufferers seek medical help and learn about ways to treat their condition, as well as ways to prevent future problems.

[Source: Spine Universe]

Please keep in mind that all treatments and outcomes are specific to the individual patient. Results may vary. Complications, such as infection, blood loss, and bowel or bladder problems are some of the potential adverse risks of surgery. Please consult your physician for a complete list of indications, warnings, precautions, adverse events, clinical results and other important medical information.