What is Vertebroplasty?

Vertebroplasty is similar to Kyphoplasty in that it is used to reduce the pain and deformity following compression fractures of the spine. Compression fractures occur in the body of the vertebra. These compression fractures may involve the collapse of one or more vertebrae in the spine and are a common result of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease most common in post menopausal women, but can occur in men or women with hormonal imbalances. Osteoporosis results in a loss of normal bone density, mass and strength, leading to a condition in which bones are increasingly porous and vulnerable to breaking. Vertebrae may also become weakened by cancer. When the vertebra collapses Vertebroplasy offers the potential to stop the loss of bone height in the vertebra and reverse deformity of the spine that can cause pain. This procedure is most affective if performed within the first 8 weeks following the injury or onset of the fracture. Delaying will result in the fracture continuing to collapse on it self, starting to heal and not being able to regain bone height.

Procedure Details

As in vertebroplasty a patient lies face down. The physician advances a thin tube into the fractured vertebra from an incision in the back. Through the tube, the physician drills a small hole through the hard, outer part of the bone and into its softer center. This provides a pathway for the physician to inject cement into the interior body of the vertebra.. Either local anesthesia or general anesthesia may be used in these procedures.

Vertebroplasty can be performed on patients who:

  • are too elderly or frail to tolerate open spinal surgery, or whose bones are too weak for surgical repair
  • have vertebral compression due to a tumor.
  • suffer from osteoporosis due to long-term steroid treatment or a metabolic disorder