Kyphoplasty/Vertebroplasty

This is a treatment option for patients diagnosed with vertebral compression fractures caused by cancers, osteoporosis, or noncancerous blood vessel growths called hemangiomas. These compression fractures frequently require kyphoplasty/vertebroplasty procedures. The fractures happen when the spine’s bony block collapses. Compression fractures usually cause severe pain from the instant that they occur, but they can continue to hurt for months, and even years following. Kyphoplasty/vertebroplasty procedures are needle-based and usually do not even require the patient to undergo general anesthesia. The procedure usually only takes 30-45 minutes and patients are then allowed to recover in the comfort of their own homes.

Several medical conditions commonly treated using kyphoplasty/vertebroplasty procedures are:

  • Cancerous tumors: Vertebral body cancers
  • Osteoporosis compression fractures
  • Hemangiomas: Blood vessel growths found in the vertebral body that are noncancerous

The Procedure

On the day of your scheduled procedure, please arrive at least 20 minutes prior to the start time. Our nurses will get you situated with an IV if you want sedation and they will then conduct a nurse per-operation assessment. You will be directed to lie down on a hospital bed in the procedure room and you will be given nitrous oxide gas and sedation to help make you more comfortable. At this point, we place cold cleaning solutions on our patients in order to lessen the chance of infection. Utilizing x-ray guidance, your doctor will identify the procedure site and place a hollow needle through the pedicle into the vertebral body. Then, your doctor will insert a small balloon through the inserted needle and will slowly inflate it while constantly monitoring its pressure. This has been known to sometimes restore vertebral body height that was lowered by the fracture. Once we place the vertebral body in the proper position, the balloon is removed and replaced with acrylic bone cement. This bone cement is intended to serve as an internal cast to support and hold the vertebral height, and reduce pain and inflammation. Some medical professionals have hypothesized that the heat from the acrylic cement helps to deaden nearby nerves around the vertebral body, thereby lessening the pain. Once the procedure is completed, the needles are removed and the procedure site is bandaged. The acrylic cement hardens quickly and it should be completely set by the time you get off the procedure table. Most of the time only one needle placement is necessary. However, if your doctor is unsatisfied with the results then they may choose to place another needle and repeat the process. This will ensure proper cement spreading and a complete filling of the fractured area. Finally, you will be taken to a recovery room after the procedure is finished and we will observe you for 30 minutes to make sure everything went well.

What to Expect Afterwards

After we observe you for half an hour in the recovery room, you will be allowed to leave and recover in the comfort of your own home. You will be under no specific restrictions, as the cement will have hardened by the time you leave our care. Some patients report feeling immediate pain relief and others report feeling it within several days. The site if the injection will most likely be sore so make sure to treat it with anti-inflammatories, pain medication, and ice. The bandages over your procedure site can be removed a day after the procedure is completed. You are free to shower, exercise, and engage in normal everyday activities if you wish, depending on your level of comfort. Finally, you will be scheduled for an office visit three to four weeks afterwards to discuss your results and progress.

For more information regarding kyphoplasty/vertebroplasty procedures, please call Interventional Pain Management, a department of BRMC, at (870) 508-5900.