The vertebrae are a series of bones that make up the spine. When one of them
fractures, the compression can put pressure on surrounding nerves, causing intense pain and disability. Acute fractures will also be painful. The compression fractures may be repaired with these procedures:
Vertebroplasty—An acrylic cement is injected into a fractured and collapsed vertebra (spinal bone). The cement strengthens the bone and decreases pain from the fracture.
Kyphoplasty—A balloon is used to create a cavity to inject the cement into. This procedure is designed to relieve pain. It can also improve spinal deformities from the fractures.
You will be asked to lie down on your stomach. X-ray cameras will be positioned around you. The cameras will show images of the bone. Your doctor will use this to verify the position of the needles and cement.
The skin over the fractured bone will be numbed and sterilized. A hollow needle will be passed into the vertebra. The acrylic cement will be mixed into a toothpaste-like consistency. An added substance, called barium, will improve the images. When the needle position is ideal, the cement will be injected into the fractured bone. The doctor will watch the cement as it enters the bone to check for leaks.
Your doctor will begin by making a small incision in your back. A tiny drill will be used to create an opening in the bone. A special balloon will be passed through. The balloon will be inflated to open the space and correct the deformity. After the balloon is removed, acrylic cement will be injected into the cavity. This will help to maintain the correction.
Other methods can be used to open the space before injection.
You may have a CT scan to confirm the position of the cement. You will stay on your stomach for about 10-20 minutes. This will allow the cement to harden. You will then be moved to a recovery room. You will be asked to lie on your back for another hour or so.
Vertebral compression fractures. American Association of Neurological Surgeons website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Accessed December 19, 2017.
Vertebroplasty. Johns Hopkins Medicine website. Available at: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/test_procedures/orthopaedic/vertebroplasty_135,37. Accessed December 19, 2017.
Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty. Radiology Info—Radiological Society of North America website. Available at: https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=vertebro. Updated January 23, 2017. Accessed December 19, 2017.
Vertebroplasty for spine fracture pain. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/vertebroplasty-for-spine-fracture-pain. Updated: May 2014. Accessed December 19, 2017.