FAQs on Kyphoplasty and Vertebroplasty in Nashville TN

Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are minimally invasive procedures used by Nashville pain management doctors to treat vertebral compression fractures (VCFs) of the spine. A VCF can limit spine mobility and is a painful condition. These fractures are often cause by osteoporosis, traumatic injury, and spinal tumors.

How do VCFs occur?

The spine has 24 vertebrae, and a VCF occurs when one of the bony vertebrae collapses into itself, producing a wedged-shaped bone. People with VCF often develop a humped spine, called kyphosis, as well as experience severe back pain and loss of spinal mobility. These compression fractures occur when bones are weak and soft, in conditions such as multiple myeloma and osteoporosis.

What can I expect before the procedure?

Before the procedure, the Tennessee pain doctor will discuss the risks and benefits and have you sign a consent form. You must stop taking blood-thinning agents 5-7 days prior to the procedure. You are not permitted to eat or drink after midnight, but necessary medications can be taken with small sips of water. When you arrive at the center, a nurse will place an IV catheter in your arm. The choices for anesthesia include general anesthesia or conscious sedation.

How are kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty performed?

In the procedure room, you are positioned on your stomach, and your back is cleansed with an antiseptic solution. A local anesthetic is used to numb the skin before the doctor makes a small incision over the VCF. Using x-ray guidance, one or more needles are inserted into the vertebra. Both kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty are performed through a hollow needle that is passed through the skin of the back into the vertebra.

With kyphoplasty, a balloon is first inserted to expand the compressed vertebra to normal height before it is filled with bone cement. In vertebroplasty, the bone cement is injected through a special needled into the fractured bone, but no balloon is used. After the needles are withdrawn, the skin incision is closed with sutures or steri-strips.

What can I expect after the procedure?

After the kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty procedure, you will be moved to a recovery area. A nurse will monitor your condition and vital signs. After 1 hour, you are permitted to sit up, and then after 2 hours you must get up and walk.

Some patients stay in the hospital overnight for observation and are released the next day. Others go home the same day. To alleviate pain, the doctor will prescribe medications to use for a short time. In addition, we recommend drinking plenty of water and eating high fiber foods to prevent constipation. You should not do any strenuous activities for a few weeks, and will be referred to physical therapy for after care.

Does kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty treat old vertebral compression fractures?

Both kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty are not recommended for chronic, old vertebral compression fractures. If the fracture has been present for 3 months or longer, doctors at pain management clinics in Nashville and Murfreesboro usually don’t do the surgery. These procedures are most effective for preventing kyphosis and reducing back pain if done when the bone first collapses.

What are the success rates for kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty?

In a large clinical study, the success rate for vertebroplasty pain relief was 87%, and for kyphoplasty pain relief, the rate was 92%. In a review of these two procedures involving over 6,000 VCF patients, both procedures offered significant pain reduction, which lasted between 2-5 years.

Resources

Kasperk C, Hillmeier J, Noldge G, et al. Treatment of painful vertebral fractures by kyphoplasty in patients with primary osteoporosis: a prospective nonrandomized controlled study. J Bone Miner Research, 20:604–12. doi: 10.1359/JBMR.041203.

Ploeg WT, Veldhuizen AG, The B, et al. (2006). Percutaneous vertebroplasty as a treatment for osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures: a systematic review. Eur Spine Journal, 15:1749–1758.

Taylor RS, Taylor RJ, Fritzell P (2006). Balloon kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty for vertebral compression fractures: a comparative systematic review of efficacy and safety. Spine, 31:2747–55. doi: 10.1097/01.brs.0000244639.71656.7d.