Nonsurgical Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty are Effective Pain Treatment for Spinal Fractures Caused by Osteoporosis
Vertebroplasty is a pain treatment for vertebral compression fractures that fail to respond to conventional medical therapy, such as minimal or no pain relief with analgesics or narcotic doses that are intolerable. Vertebroplasty, a nonsurgical treatment performed by interventional radiologists using imaging guidance, stabilizes the collapsed vertebra with the injection of medical-grade bone cement into the spine. This relieves pain, and can prevent further collapse of the vertebra, thereby preventing the height loss and spine curvature commonly seen as a result of osteoporosis. Vertebroplasty dramatically improves back pain within hours of the procedure, provides long-term pain relief and has a low complication rate, as demonstrated in multiple studies.
If the vertebra is not shored up, it can heal in a compressed or flattened wedge shape. Once this occurs, the compression fracture cannot be treated effectively. It is very important for someone with persistent spinal pain lasting more than three months to consult an interventional radiologist, and people who require constant pain relief with narcotics should seek help immediately.
Vertebroplasty is an outpatient procedure using X-ray imaging and conscious sedation. The interventional radiologist inserts a needle through a nick in the skin in the back, directing it under fluoroscopy (continuous, moving X-ray imaging) into the fractured vertebra. The physician then injects the medical-grade bone cement into the vertebra. The cement hardens within 15 minutes and stabilizes the fracture, like an internal cast. The patient stays in the recovery room for approximately four hours following the procedure.
Kyphoplasty is a similar procedure during which a balloon is used to re-expand the compressed vertebra near to its initial height. The same medical-grade bone cement is infused into the cavity created by the balloon to seal the fracture and maintain the vertebral bodys height.
For kyphoplasty, the patient is admitted for observation overnight following the procedure. Once seen by the interventional radiologist the next morning, the patient is generally discharged to home.