Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are minimally invasive procedures for the treatment of vertebral compression fractures, which are fractures involving the vertebral bodies that make up the spinal column. When a vertebral body fractures, the usual rectangular shape of the bone becomes compressed, causing pain. These compression fractures may involve the collapse of one or more vertebrae in the spine and are a common result of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease that results in a loss of normal bone density, mass and strength, leading to a condition in which bones are increasingly porous and vulnerable to breaking. Vertebrae may also become weakened by cancer.
How does the procedure work?
Using image-guidance, a neurosurgeon will pass a hollow needle called a trocar through the skin into the vertebral body for injection of the cement mixture into the vertebra. Vertebroplasty involves injecting the cement mixture directly into the empty spaces within weakened vertebrae to strengthen them and provide pain relief. In kyphoplasty, a balloon is first inserted through the trocar, into the fractured vertebra, where it is inflated to create a cavity for cement injection. The balloon is removed prior to injecting cement into the cavity that was created by the balloon. Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are highly effective procedures used to treat painful vertebral compression fractures in the spine.
Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty is also performed on patients who:
- are too elderly or frail to tolerate open spinal surgery, or whose bones are too weak for surgical repair
- have vertebral compression due to a malignant tumor
- are younger, with osteoporosis due to long-term steroid treatment or a metabolic disorder