Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are similar, minimally invasive, non-surgical procedures that have proven to be effective in the strengthening of the vertebrae of the spine, which in turn significantly improves pain caused by vertebral body compression fractures. Vertebral body compression fractures are usually secondary to trauma, bone cancer metastasis, or osteoporosis. Both vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty have been shown to help patients even when traditional therapies have failed to provide relief.
Vertebroplasty will provide immediate relief from pain caused by vertebral body compression fractures. After the patient is numbed, a needle is placed into the affected vertebra using fluoroscopic guidance followed by injection of acrylic cement ( bone cement) into the vertebrae that have cracked or broken. Once injected, the material hardens to form a cast-like structure within the broken bone. Relief of pain comes quickly from this casting effect, and the newly hardened vertebra is then protected from further collapse. When kyphoplasty, also known as Ballon Assisted Vertebroplasty, is performed, a small balloon will be inflated inside of the vertebra, creating a larger cavity to be filled with acrylic cement. They are very similar, kyphoplasty can result in an increase of vertebral body height.
Shortly after the cement has hardened, the patient is free to leave and can go home the same day, though patients are usually advised not to drive themselves. For the first 24 hours after a Vertebroplasty or Kyphoplasty procedure, bed rest is typically recommended. Activities may gradually be increased, and most regular medications can be resumed. Most patients undergoing the vertebroplasty procedure experience 90% or better reduction in pain within 24-48 hours and an increased ability to perform daily activities shortly thereafter.
Although relief is usually attained with the procedure, fracture prevention will be helpful to avoid further injury, especially when the deterioration of the vertebra is a result of osteoporosis.