Vertebroplasty is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that repairs painful compression fractures in the spine. Vertebroplasty employs similar techniques as a procedure called kyphoplasty, but kyphoplasty uses a small, inflatable balloon to correct spinal fractures. Both vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty help restore bone height and reduce the risk of spinal deformity from mild to moderate compression fractures. Most spinal fractures are caused by the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis, but they can also develop from a trauma or infection. The pain management specialists at TriState Pain Institute may recommend this procedure to patients with compression fractures that are less than six months old.
What To Expect
An x-ray, complete medical history, and physical examination will be performed before the procedure to determine the precise location of the fractured vertebra. During the procedure, A TriState Pain Institute physician will provide the patient with a sedative to minimize discomfort. For severe cases, general anesthesia may be administered to keep the patient comfortable. An incision will be made above the affected area where a hollow needle will then be inserted. Using x-ray guidance, the physician will inject areas of the vertebrae with cement. With kyphoplasty, a small balloon will be inflated to increase spinal height before cement is injected in the fractures. As soon as the vertebrae have been treated, the needles will be removed and the incision will be closed.
Patients may need to lie on their back for at least one hour while the cement hardens. After one or two hours of observation, the patient will be able to return home. Swelling, bruising, and mild discomfort may be present following the procedure. A TriState Pain Institute physician will provide the patient with a back brace to aid recovery. Pain relief may be felt either immediately after the procedure or within 72 hours. A follow-up appointment will be scheduled several days or weeks after the procedure.