When it comes to approaching vertebral augmentation, there are two common and minimally invasive procedures that can help stabilize a vertebral fracture. These procedures, kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty, are offered by Rebound’s board-certified team of brain and spine neurosurgeons.
“Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are two approaches that provide relief from the pain caused by vertebral compression fractures (VCF) of the spine. These procedures can treat the pain, and reduce the risk of progressive spinal deformity,” says Rebound brain and spine neurosurgeon, Dr. Wael Musleh.
Both vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty involve placing cement into fractured vertebra through small incisions. These procedures use X-ray guidance using fluoroscopy.
Kyphoplasty surgery involves inserting a balloon device into the fractured vertebra. The balloon is then inflated to create a space for cement injection. The balloon is then removed and medical-grade cement is injected into the cavity.
During kyphoplasty, a small incision is made in the patient’s back. The doctor will then place a narrow tube to be used as a path to the fractured area. Once the tube has been positioned correctly, the doctors will use X-ray imagery to insert the balloon through the tube and into the vertebrae. The balloon will then be inflated. As it inflates, it will expand, pushing the compressed vertebra as close as possible to its normal height. The balloon is then carefully removed and the cavity is filled with cement that will help keep everything in place.
The pain relief will be almost immediate for some, while others report reduction of pain within two days. Patients can resume their normal activities with 24 hours, although they should refrain from heavy lifting and gradually reintroduce strenuous activities.
- Who Benefits from Kyphoplasty?
Those who are suffering from painful symptoms or spinal deformities from recent osteoporosis compression fractures are candidates who may benefit from kyphoplasty. Certain patients however, are not candidates for this treatment, as kyphoplasty cannot correct an already established deformity of the spine.
“Without treatment, compression fractures will heal, but in a collapsed position. Kyphoplasty can sometimes return the vertebra to a normal position, before the bone has a chance to harden,” says Dr. Musleh.
Vertebroplasty involves using a hollow needle to inject the bone with a medical-grade cement mixture. This fuses the fragments, strengthens the vertebra, and reduces pain.
The procedure involves inserting a biopsy needle into the fractured vertebra under X-ray images. Once the needle is in place, cement is injected under pressure directly into the fractured vertebra, filing the spaces within the bone creating a type of internal cast, and reducing the chance of propagating the fracture.
Bed rest is recommended for 24 hours after the procedure; light activities can be slowly increased and resumed. Many patients report relief from pain within the first 24 hours.
- Who Benefits from Vertebroplasty?
Those who benefit the most from vertebroplasty are those who have recently suffered a compression fracture. Vertebroplasty is not helpful for those with chronic back pain or disc problems. In order to determine whether vertebroplasty is the right treatment option, the doctor will order X-rays of the spine, an MRI, or bone scan. This will help to determine where the fractures are located, and how recently they occurred.
Your doctors will give you directions on how to prepare for surgery, and instructions on what you can and cannot eat. They will also direct you on what medications you should take before surgery. You should have transportation arranged ahead of time so your discharge is easier.
Studies show that people who have one osteoporotic fracture are five times more likely to develop additional fractures. For this reason, it’s important to seek treatment for osteoporosis early, ideally –before a fracture occurs.
For more information on vertebral compression fractures (VCF), contact us at 1-800-REBOUND, or use our online booking form to schedule an appointment.
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