Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty Explained
What are Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty?
Vertebral compression fractures are often treated by Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty, two similar minimally invasive procedures that require passing a hollow needle into the patient’s fracture and inserting bone cement.
If the physician opts for vertebroplasty, then bone cement, medically defined as polymethylmethacrylate, is injected into the fractured bone of the vertebra. If kyphoplasty is performed, then the initial step requires inserting and inflating a balloon in order to expand the compressed vertebra to its original shape and then bone cement will fill the broken bone.
Each fractured vertebra requires either a vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty at a time. Although the fractures can and will heal without treatment, they will remain in a collapsed position, while when a vertebrae is strengthened with cement, this will allow the patient to move straight, eliminating the pain and the risk of future fractures. Research shows that you are 5 times more likely to experience additional fractures if you currently suffer from an osteoporotic fracture, so it’s crucial to have this condition treated in time, before other fractures occur.
Am I a candidate?
If you have pain associated with vertebral compression fractures resulting from bone marrow cancer, osteoporosis, benign vascular tumor or metastatic tumor, then you should consider having vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty done. On the other hand, if your have bleeding disorders, allergies to medication, bone infections, tumor or fracture fragment in the spinal cord or non painful stable compression fractures, than you are not a candidate for vertebroplasty nor kyphoplasty.
What does the procedure entail?
Before having surgery done, your surgeon will evaluate your condition by performing a variety of diagnostic and presurgical tests, such as chest X-rays, MRI, CT scans, bone scans, blood tests, and will also determine whether you your spine is stable or not. One week before surgery, you should stop taking any anti-inflammatory or non steroid medication. The night before the surgery, you shouldn’t eat nor drink, well, not after midnight. Before surgery, you will be administered either general anesthetic that will get you sleeping, or you will be under conscious sedation so that you are awake, but numb during the surgery.
Each vertebra intervention takes anywhere between 45 – 60 minutes and follows a 5 step procedure: preparation of the patient, needle insertion, in case of kyphoplasty a vertebra height restoration will take place, then bone cement is injected and the fifth step implies surgery closure.
After the surgery, you will have to recover in a special designated area, where your heart rate and blood pressure will be monitored. During recovery, you will lie down for 1 hour, and after 2 hours you are allowed to walk.
The Board Certified, Fellowship Trained Chicago pain management doctors at Premier Pain & Spine offer the kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty procedures for exceptional pain relief to those with compression fractures.
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