Kyphoplasty and Vertebroplasty
By restoring stabilization to the fractured area with a special spinal cement, both kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty serve to provide relief to symptomatic pains patients may be experiencing while also supporting the recovery process of the fracture through solidifying the spine.
What do Kyphoplasty or Vertebroplasty treat?
Each of these techniques uses a different approach to providing stabilization to a fracture, with the procedures focusing primarily on patients who are currently recovering from one or more spinal fractures that are producing symptomatic pains.
The injury most treated through kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty is a vertebral fracture produced through significant osteoporosis. A compression fracture can occur when one or more of a patient’s vertebrae are compressed with force that exceeds what the bone can withstand, causing the bone to fracture. This may be so severe as to occur with a sneeze.
Patients who have had, or who currently have, one or more conditions which weaken the vertebrae are much more prone to suffering a compression fracture. Thus, compression fractures occur much more frequently in the elderly, with approximately 700,000 fractures suffered by patients each year. The conditions that most often weaken patients’ vertebrae include spinal osteoporosis and cancer.
An important note for patients with spinal pain is that even minor pain may be indicative of a compression fracture. Minor fractures may not produce severe symptoms, instead only producing small amounts of pain. More often however, fractures will be very noticeable as they can produce significant pain and secondary effects in the surrounding tissue such as spasms.
How are Kyphoplasty and Vertebroplasty performed?
Both kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty are performed to achieve the same purpose: to create stabilization of the spine to reduce the symptomatic pains caused by fracture, and to supplement the recovery process. While sharing the same goal, the two procedures differ from one another in their application and methodology.
To begin a kyphoplasty, a small incision will be made into the skin located over the fracture to allow for a catheter to be guided in. Fluoroscopic imaging will be used to ensure that the catheter is placed correctly. After the catheter is seated, a balloon filled with a saline solution will be carefully expanded into the fracture.
Expansion of a balloon here is used to clear remaining pieces of spinal debris and bone to create an empty cavity in preparation for the injection of the special spinal cement. The saline filled balloon is then deflated and removed.
A vertebroplasty begins much the same as a kyphoplasty, with the same incision made over the area of the fracture to allow for the insertion of a catheter. Fluoroscopic imaging will be used here as well to ensure proper placement.
After the catheter is inserted into the fracture, spinal cement will be directly injected into the fracture. In both procedures, cement is used to solidify the area to provide substantial spinal support to reduce pain and accelerate the healing process.
Regardless of which methodology is used to administer the cement, once injected it will harden to create a rigid support base for the fractured vertebrae. Each procedure is performed to create this spinal support, which reduces symptomatic pains. While both kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty are used as a treatment for the secondary symptoms of a fracture, they are not able to treat the original cause of the fracture.
How successful are Kyphoplasty and Vertebroplasty?
The main difference between a kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty lies within the injection procedure, with each technique offering a very successful method of symptomatic relief. Approximately 90% of those who receive a kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty are able to obtain relief for pain.
The Board Certified Chicago pain management doctors at Premier Pain & Spine are experts in the treatment of compression fractures with kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty. Most insurance is accepted at all seven locations. If you or a loved one is suffering from back pain, call Premier Pain today!