Vertebral Compression Fractures and Osteoporosis
Kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty (vertebral augmentation) are minimally invasive procedures that stabilize spinal fractures and reduce back pain.
The procedures are designed to treat vertebral compression fracture related pain in order to reduce pain significantly improve mobility and overall quality of life. A recent study also demonstrated an improvement in survival for Medicare patients who underwent vertebral augmentation procedures.
Studies also report the following benefits:
o Correction of vertebral body deformity
o Significant reduction in back pain
o Significant improvement in quality of life
o Significant improvement in mobility, including the ability to perform daily activities such as walking, hobbies and work
o Significant reduction in the number of days per month that a patient remains in bed
o Improved survival in the Medicare population
o Decreased use of pain medications
o Low complication rate
Osteoporosis causes more than 700,000 spinal fractures each year in the U.S. according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, more than twice the annual number of hip fractures.
Spinal fractures can also be caused by cancer, most commonly seen with multiple myeloma. Some spinal fractures may collapse acutely while others collapse more slowly. Left untreated, one fracture can lead to subsequent fractures; often resulting in a condition called kyphosis, or rounded back. Kyphosis can compress the chest and abdominal cavity, which may result in negative health consequences.
Sacral stress or insufficiency fractures can also be treated with a comparable procedure, referred to as sacroplasty. The procedure is performed in a similar fashion as kyphoplasty, without the use of balloon catheters.
About the Kyphoplasty/Vertebroplasty Procedure
Using stat-of-the-art fluoroscopy/X-ray equipment, the interventional radiologist creates a small pathway into the fractured bone through a tiny skin incision. With kyphoplasty, a small balloon catheter is guided through the instrument into the vertebra. The balloon is carefully inflated to create a cavity and partially restore height of the vertebral body. The balloon is deflated and removed and the remaining cavity is filled with medical-grade bone cement, forming an “internal cast” to support the surrounding bone and prevent motion (painful) and further collapse.
The procedure takes about an hour and patients typically go home the same day or the next morning. The procedure can be done with local anesthesia and sedation.
As with any minimally invasive procedure, there are risks and potential complications. Patients should consult with their interventional radiologist for a full discussion of the risks.
For more in-depth information about vertebral augmentation, visit http://www.sirweb.org/patients/minimally-invasive-treatments/.