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by Carson-DeWitt R

Definition

Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are surgeries to repair a fracture of a vertebra using acrylic cement. The vertebrae are a series of bones that make up the spine.

Reasons for Procedure

Both procedures are done to:

  • Strengthen the bone
  • Ease pain
  • Improve function
  • Kyphoplasty also restores the height of the bone to correct any deformity caused by the fracture.

    Vertebral Fracture
    factsheet image
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    Possible Complications

    Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:

    • Excess bleeding
    • Problems from anesthesia, such as wheezing or sore throat
    • Infection
    • Blood clots
    • Cement leaking into the spinal canal or nearby veins
    • Fracture of nearby vertebrae or ribs
    • Numbness, tingling
    • Paralysis

    Things that may raise the risk of these problems are:

    • Smoking
    • Drinking excess alcohol
    • Chronic diseases, such as diabetes and obesity

    What to Expect

    Prior to Procedure

    The surgical team may meet with you to talk about:

    • Anesthesia options
    • Any allergies you may have
    • Current medicines, herbs, and supplements that you take and whether you need to stop taking them before surgery
    • Fasting before surgery, such as avoiding food or drink after midnight the night before
    • Whether you need a ride to and from surgery

    Anesthesia

    The doctor may give:

    • A sedative—you will feel relaxed
    • Local anesthesia—the area will be numbed
    • General anesthesia—you will be asleep

    Description of Procedure

    Vertebroplasty

    An X-ray will be used to guide a hollow needle into the vertebra. The cement will be injected into the vertebra. The needle will be removed. A bandage will be placed over the site.

    Kyphoplasty

    An cut will be made in the back. A tiny drill will be used to create an opening in the bone. A balloon will be passed through the opening. The balloon will be inflated to open the space and correct the deformity. The balloon will be removed. An X-ray will be used to guide a hollow needle into the opening. The cement will be injected into it. This will keep the deformity correction in place. The needle will be removed. The cut will be closed with stitches. A bandage will be placed over the site.

    Immediately After Procedure

    You will be asked to rest on your stomach to give the cement time to harden. A CT scan may be done to make sure the cement is in place.

    How Long Will It Take?

    40 minutes to 2 hours. It depends on how many vertebra are repaired.

    Will It Hurt?

    Anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery. Most people notice relief from pain right after surgery. Any pain after surgery can be managed with medicine and home care.

    Average Hospital Stay

    Most people go home the same day. If you have any problems, you may need to stay longer.

    Post-procedure Care

    At the Hospital

    After the procedure, the staff may give you pain medicine.

    During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to lower your risk of infection, such as:

    • Washing their hands
    • Wearing gloves or masks
    • Keeping your cuts covered

    During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to lower your risk of infection, such as:

    • Washing your hands often and reminding visitors and staff to do the same
    • Reminding staff to wear gloves or masks
    • Not letting others touch your cuts
    At Home

    It will take a few days for the pain to go away. A cut will take a few weeks to heal. Physical activity may be limited during recovery. You may also need to delay your return to work.

    Problems to Look Out For

    Call the doctor if you are not getting better or you have:

    • Signs of infection, such as fever and chills
    • Pain that you cannot control with medicine
    • Redness, swelling, a lot of bleeding, or any discharge
    • Severe back or rib pain
    • Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
    • Numbness, tingling, or weakness
    • New or worsening symptoms

    If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.

    RESOURCES

    National Institutes of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases  https://www.niams.nih.gov 

    Radiology Info—Radiological Society of North America  https://www.radiologyinfo.org 

    CANADIAN RESOURCES

    Canadian Orthopaedic Association  https://coa-aco.org 

    Health Canada  https://www.canada.ca 

    References

    Kyphoplasty. Johns Hopkins Medicine website. Available at: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/test%5Fprocedures/orthopaedic/kyphoplasty%5F135,36https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/kyphoplasty. Accessed April 7, 2022.

    Thoracolumbar vertebral compression fracture. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/thoracolumbar-vertebral-compression-fracture. Accessed April 7, 2022.

    Vertebral compression fractures. American Association of Neurological Surgeons website. Available at: https://www.aans.org/Patients/Neurosurgical-Conditions-and-Treatments/Vertebral-Compression-Fractures. Accessed April 7, 2022.

    Vertebroplasty. Johns Hopkins Medicine website. Available at: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/vertebroplasty. Accessed April 7, 2022.

    Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty. Radiology Info—Radiological Society of North America website. Available at: https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info/vertebro. Accessed April 7, 2022.

    Vertebroplasty for spine fracture pain. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/vertebroplasty-for-spine-fracture-pain. Accessed April 7, 2022.

    Revision Information