Vertebral compression fractures/osteoporosis-related fractures
Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are minimally invasive procedures for vertebra compression fractures (VCF), which are fractures in vertebra, the small bones that make up the spinal column.
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 or small holes and vulnerable to breaking. Vertebrae can also become weakened by cancer.
Vertebroplasty uses a type of X-ray called a fluoroscope to guide a needle into a compression fracture, and then a special type of bone cement is injected into the fractured vertebrae. The cement hardens, stabilizing and strengthening the bone. A variation of this procedure, called kyphoplasty, features a balloon that is inserted into the vertebral body and inflated to restore the bone to a more natural position. When deflated, the balloon creates a hollow cavity that is replaced by bone cement. Both procedures provide immediate pain relief in most cases.
Vertebroplasty/Kyphoplasty – Preparation Instructions
- You should report to your doctor all medications that you are taking—including herbal supplements—and if you have any allergies, especially to local anesthetic, medications, general anesthesia or to contrast materials (also known as “dye” or “x-ray dye”).
- Your physician may advise you to stop taking aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or a blood thinner for a specified period of time before your procedure. Also inform your doctor about recent illnesses or other medical conditions.
- Women should always inform their physician and x-ray technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant. Many imaging tests are not performed during pregnancy so as not to expose the fetus to radiation. If an x-ray is necessary, precautions will be taken to minimize radiation exposure to the baby.
- In most cases, you may take your usual medications, especially blood pressure medications. These may be taken with some water in the morning before your procedure.
- You may be instructed to not eat or drink anything for several hours before your procedure.
- You will be given a gown to wear during the procedure.
- You will need to have a friend or relative drive you home after the procedure.