Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty

Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are minimally invasive surgical procedures which aim to relieve symptoms associated with vertebral compression fractures.

Vertebroplasty and KyphoplastyWith vertebroplasty a needle is inserted into the compressed portion of a vertebra and surgical cement is injected to provide immediate pain relief through stabilization of the vertebral fracture. Prior to the injection of cement, inflatable bone plugs can be used to create a gap between the vertebra. In this case the technique is known as balloon vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty.

The objective of this latter method is not only to stabilize the vertebra but also to restore the normal anatomy of the fractured vertebra and to reduce the curvature of the spine in the injured region.

As radiological control is necessary to guide the physician during the operation, it is recommended that vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty procedures be performed in a hospital setting and under sterile conditions. Both methods can be performed under local or general anesthesia.

Although these procedures may improve quality of life for some patients, it is important to note that side effects such as cement leakage, pulmonary edema, myocardial infarction and rib fractures have been described after both vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty. Furthermore, the problem of an increased incidence of new fractures in the adjacent vertebra, after such treatments has been raised in clinical trials.