When a vertebra fractures, the usual rectangular shape of the bone becomes compressed and distorted, causing pain. These compression fractures, which may involve the collapse of one or more vertebrae in the spine, are a common symptom and result of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease that results in a loss of normal bone density, mass and strength, leading to a condition in which bones are increasingly porous or full of small holes and vulnerable to breaking. Vertebrae can also become weakened by cancer.
Vertebroplasty is an outpatient procedure for stabilizing compression fractures in the spine. It is performed using a type of X-ray called a fluoroscope to guide a needle into a compression fracture. Once in place, a special type of bone cement is injected into the fractured vertebrae. The cement hardens, stabilizing and strengthening the bone.
Vertebroplasty is safe and effective, producing lasting results in a short amount of time. No hospital stay is required.
Kyphoplasty is a similar procedure to vertebroplasty, but includes an added measure to restore height to the damaged vertebrae. During this procedure, a balloon is inserted into the vertebral body and inflated to restore the bone to a more natural positioned. When deflated, the balloon creates a hollow cavity that is filled with bone cement.
Kyphoplasty is also a very safe and effective procedure that is performed on an outpatient basis.