For those suffering from vertebral compression fractures, Kyphoplasty may be the solution for you.

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Kyphoplasty and Vertebroplasty are forms of vertebral augmentation which are minimally invasive procedures performed to treat vertebral compression fractures (VCF) of the spine.

Vertebral Compression Fractures (VCF) of the spine, which can be painful and limit spine mobility, are commonly caused by osteoporosis, spinal tumors, and traumatic injury. Traditional treatments of bed rest, pain medication, and braces are slow to relieve the pain. By injecting bone cement into the fractured bone and restoring the vertebra height, these procedures offer patients faster recovery and reduce the risk of future fractures in the treated bone. Previous treatments consisted of conservatively monitoring the patient and managing pain symptoms. To promote optimal outcome it is recommended to complete vertebral augmentation like vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty as early as the first week after the VCF has occured.

How Does Kyphoplasty and Vertebroplasty Work?

In vertebral compression fractures (VCF), the body collapses into itself (more in the front than the back) producing a “wedged” vertebra. VCFs can lead to back pain, reduced physical activity, depression, loss of independence, decreased lung capacity, and difficulty sleeping. 

Kyphoplasty and Vertebroplasty are similar procedures, each a form of vertebral augmentation. Both are performed through a hollow needle that is passed through the skin of your back into the fractured vertebra. In vertebroplasty, bone cement (called polymethylmethacrylate) is injected through the hollow needle into the fractured bone. In kyphoplasty, a balloon is first inserted and inflated to expand the compressed vertebra to its normal height before filling the space with bone cement. The cement-strengthened vertebra allows you to stand straight, reduces your pain, and prevents further fractures.

Without treatment, the fractures will eventually heal, but in a collapsed position. The benefit of kyphoplasty is that your vertebra is returned to normal position before the bone hardens. Patients who’ve had kyphoplasty report significantly less pain after treatment.

Studies show that people who get one osteoporotic fracture are 5 times more likely to develop additional fractures. It is important that people seek treatment for osteoporosis early, before further fractures occur.

Is Kyphoplasty and Vertebroplasty right for you?

Vertebral Augmentation like Vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty may be a treatment option if you have painful vertebral compression fractures from:

  • Osteoporosis (a depletion of calcium in bones)
  • Metastatic tumor (cancer spread from another area)
  • Multiple myeloma (cancer of the bone marrow)
  • Vertebral hemangioma (benign vascular tumor)
  • Traumatic Injury

Traditional treatment used to involve waiting 4 to 6 weeks to see if patients improved on their own, but now it’s believed that waiting allows the bone to harden, making vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty less effective. Many doctors are now suggesting vertebroplasty as soon as the first week after a fracture for some patients because the results are significantly better.

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