Kyphoplasty and Vertebroplasty
Compression fractures of the vertebrae in the spine can be very painful and debilitating. The body of the vertebra cracks and collapses, usually from osteoporosis, malignancy, or trauma. Healing can be time-consuming and very uncomfortable, often causing interruption of normal activity due to pain. Kyphoplasty and Vertebroplasty are techniques used to fill the fracture with a medical grade cement, which hardens and restores stability to the fractured vertebra. This can greatly reduce pain and improve mobility and function. First, a hollow needle is placed into the fractured vertebra, using fluoroscopy as a guide for accurate placement. Next, a tiny catheter with a balloon on the end is introduced through the needle, creating a space to fill with the cement, as well as giving some height back to the collapsed vertebra. This technique is referred to as balloon Kyphoplasty. You can visit the website http://www.balloonkyphoplasty.com to learn more about this method of repair of compression fractures. If a balloon is not indicated, and the cement is injected directly into the fracture, this is called Vertebroplasty. Both techniques are generally very safe for patients and are well tolerated with either moderate sedation or light anesthesia. Tell your physician if you are on blood thinners, as you may need to discontinue these prior to the procedure.