Vertebral Augmentation

What is a compression fracture?

  • When a bone in the spine collapses, this is called a compression fracture. This usually happens from osteoporosis, but it can also be caused by trauma or weakened bones by other processes such as cancer. 

What are the symptoms of a compression fracture?

  • You may have a compression fracture if you have recently experienced sudden severe back pain, many times corresponding with an event such as a fall or lifting a heavy object. Compression fractures can happen with even less force if bone is severely weakened. 
  • Pain is usually intense and in a focal area in the spine. 
  • The severe pain may cause difficulty with movement and can cause patients to be bedridden.

What are the treatments for compression fractures?

  • Conservative treatment for compression fractures includes rest, pain medication, and physical therapy. A back brace may also be worn to support the spine if opting for conservative management. The brace should be worn for 6-12 weeks until the pain resolves. 
  • Vertebral augmentation which includes kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty is a minimally invasive procedure for compression fractures which allows for quicker pain relief and stabilization of the fracture without invasive surgery. 
  • In severe cases, traditional surgery with spinal fusion may be necessary. 

What is kyphoplasty?

  • Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure performed by interventional radiologists to treat vertebral body (spine) compression fractures. It is performed under imaging guidance with live Xray to guide the procedure. You will be placed under anesthesia and a needle is precisely placed into the vertebral body. A balloon is then inserted through the needle into the fractured bone and it is inflated to create space and restore some of the vertebral height. The space is then filled with special bone cement to stabilize the fracture. 
  • If there is cancer in the vertebra, the procedure may be combined with a heat therapy called ablation to burn the cancer and reduce cancer pain. 

Why kyphoplasty?

  • The main reason that kyphoplasty is performed is to provide quicker relief, sometimes immediate pain relief, when compared to conservative treatment with bracing. 
  • Improved mobility and quality of life. 
  • Kyphoplasty is much less invasive than undergoing traditional surgery with less risk of complications. 

Who is a good candidate for kyphoplasty?

  • Kyphoplasty is usually recommended for patients with compression fractures that have not responded to conservative treatment like rest or pain medication. 
  • Patients with severe pain that have limited mobility benefit from kyphoplasty to return to their normal activity faster. 

What to expect if undergoing kyphoplasty.

  • You will have a consultation with our interventional radiology team which includes a review of your imaging, usually a spine MRI. 
  • After the procedure you may experience mild soreness or discomfort at the incision site.
  • Most patients experience significantly improved pain within 48 hours. 

If you are interested in learning more about Vertebral Augmentation or would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office at (470) 806-5026, or enter your information online and we will get back to you.