Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty: Procedure and Results

vertebroplasty procedure

If you have a painful vertebral compression fracture (VCF), your doctor may recommend a minimally invasive kyphoplasty or a vertebroplasty procedure to reinforce the fractured bone and provide pain relief. However, what precisely separates these two processes from one another?

What Is Vertebroplasty?

A vertebroplasty procedure aims to stabilize a fractured vertebra through the injection of medical bone cement. A small incision is made into the back through which a needle is passed into the fractured vertebral body, using continuous x-ray imaging to guide proper needle positioning. Bone cement is then injected directly into the vertebra through the needle. The cement hardens rapidly, stabilizing the bone fragments and providing pain relief.

The Vertebroplasty Procedure

A vertebroplasty procedure follows a similar procedure but skips height restoration:

  • The vertebroplasty procedure is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat vertebral compression fractures.
  • Involves the injection of bone cement directly into the fractured vertebra.
  • Cement fills the fracture, stabilizing the vertebra and reducing pain.
  • A procedure is typically performed under local anesthesia in a hospital or outpatient clinic.
  • It provides rapid pain relief and restores vertebral stability.
  • Can be performed on an outpatient basis, allowing for quicker recovery and return to normal activities.
  • It may be used in conjunction with kyphoplasty or as a standalone treatment for vertebral fractures.

What is a Kyphoplasty?

Like a vertebroplasty procedure, kyphoplasty also involves injecting bone cement into the fractured vertebra for stabilization. However, your kyphoplasty treatment doctor inserts an inflatable bone tamp through a small incision and guides it into the vertebral body through imaging. The tamp is then inflated, restoring some or all of the vertebral height lost in the collapse.

Once the desired height restoration is achieved, the tamp is deflated and withdrawn, leaving behind a cavity. Bone cement is then injected into this cavity under low pressure. The cement fills the space, reinforcing the vertebral body.

The Kyphoplasty Procedure

  • It is slightly different from vertebroplasty procedure because it entails inserting a balloon-shaped device into the fractured spinal bone.
  • The balloon is inflated to create a cavity, restoring height and shape to the vertebra.
  • Bone cement is injected into the cavity to stabilize the fracture and relieve the pain.
  • Typically performed under local or general anesthesia in a hospital or outpatient setting,.
  • Minimally invasive procedure with a shorter recovery time compared to traditional spinal surgery.
  • It provides immediate pain relief and restores spinal alignment, improving mobility and quality of life.

Recovery and Results

Following treatment, 75% of patients regain lost mobility and increase in activity. Patients, in many cases, can often go home the same day for both procedures. Most people resume normal activity within 1-2 weeks. Pain relief may be immediate, but for some, it comes gradually over several weeks. Both the kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty procedures use injections of bone cement to effectively stabilize and relieve pain in patients with vertebral compression fractures.

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