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Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are mini-invasive procedures that are performed for painful progressive vertebral compression fractures (VCF). VCFs happens when the bones of the spine become compressed and break. Such fractures usually occur in elderly populations. Causes of vertebral compression include:
- steroid use
- multiple myeloma
Over the last twenty years, these two innovative techniques to augment the vertebral bodies and minimize pain have been developed as a treatment option for refractory VCFs. Both vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are procedures that involve the injection of medical cement into the fracture. This injection decreases pain and restores some height to the compressed bone. The results are usually quick and long-lasting.
Kyphoplasty often involves the attempt to directly reduce the kyphosis that results from vertebral body collapse. In kyphoplasty, the special ballon is placed into the broken vertebra and used to reduce the vertebral body collapse towards its original shape. The central void created after removal of the balloon is filled with stabilizing material, leaving the material in place to stabilize the fracture in the improved vertebral shape.
This vertebral augmentation procedure involves only external reduction. This reduction is reached out by extension of the patient when placing him on the operating table before the material is injected into the fracture site.
How do these procedures work?
Kyphoplasties and vertebroplasties are performed under live fluoroscopic guidance to ensure the accuracy and safety of this procedure. Both procedures are performed in our Fairfax pain management office.
- You will be asked to lay on your stomach, and your back will be cleaned with an antiseptic; procedures are performed under mild sedation.
- Dr. Majid Ghauri will guide a needle toward the affected vertebral level under x-ray guidance. The injection needle will be seated into a portion of the bone called the vertebral body. During kyphoplasty, a small balloon will be inflated to help restore the vertebral body height and provide a cavity for the cement that will be injected.
- During vertebroplasty, a balloon will not be used, but cement will be injected into the fracture.
Risks and side effects
As any other procedure or medication, there are potential risks of infection, bleeding, allergic reaction, and continued increases in pain, however, these risks are very low. Dr. Majid Ghauri uses continued x-ray guidance and sterile techniques throughout the procedure to reduce these risks.