Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty


Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty are similar. They are minimally invasive, non-surgical procedures that have proven to be effective in the strengthening of the vertebrae of the spine which in turn significantly improves pain caused by vertebral body compression fractures. Vertebral body compression fractures are usually secondary to trauma, bone cancer metastasis, or osteoporosis. Both vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty have shown to help patients even when traditional therapies have failed to provide relief.


Utah Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty Treatments


Vertebroplasty is performed as an outpatient procedure that, when successful, will provide immediate relief from pain caused by vertebral body compression fractures. After the patient is numbed and lightly sedated, a needle is placed into the affected vertebra using fluoroscopic guidance, followed by a drill which makes a small cavity that will be filled with acrylic cement. When a kyphoplasty, also know as Balloon Assisted Vertebroplasty, is preformed, a small balloon will be inflated inside of the vertebra creating a larger cavity to be filled by acrylic cement. Although they are very similar, kyphoplasty can result in an increase of vertebral body height.


Risks and Benefits


Both vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty have shown to be very beneficial in reduction of pain, a decrease wedge angle without worsening of the retropulsion of vertebrae and an increase of vertebral body height in patients with vertebral body compression fractures. These patients will often develop kyphosis, or "hump back," which can be debilitating as well as embarrassing. If this is a concern when considering treatment, kyphoplasty tends to be the better option as it increases vertebral body height more than vertebroplasty. Although both procedures are considered safe and effective, there is always a risk for complications. Some of the potential risks can stem from a leak of the acrylic cement outside of the vertebral body, although these are significantly reduced by the use of fluoroscopic guidance. Other potential complications include bleeding, infection, numbness, tingling, headache, and paralysis, but are rare.




A successful vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty will be marked by immediate relief of some or all pain associated with vertebral body compression fractures. Although relief is usually attained with an injection, fracture preventions will be helpful to avoid further injury, especially when deterioration of vertebra is a result of osteoporosis.