Evolution of Technology

Vertebral Kyphoplasty

Balloon kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure used in the USA since 1999 for the treatment of osteoporotic vertebral compression fracture. It is designed to stabilize the fracture and help correct the deformity in the vertebral body. Patients who have disabling intolerable back pain, progressive vertebral collapse, and symptoms that persistent greater than 4-6 weeks may benefit from kyphoplasty.

The procedure is typically done as an outpatient and lasts less than 1 hour. In general, a small (less than 1cm) incision is made and a small opening is made into the fractured bone. A balloon is inserted into the fractured vertebral body. This balloon is carefully inflated to correct the fracture deformity of the collapsed vertebral body. The balloon is then deflated and removed, leaving a small cavity within the vertebral body. This cavity is then filled with bone cement, which stabilizes the fractured vertebrae.

This procedure can help provide some patients with immediate pain relief and has the greatest potential to correct skeletal deformities, compared to standard vertebroplasty, because of its ability to restore vertebral height.

Evolution of Procedure

Vertebral Augmentation Surgery

Vertebral augmentation procedures are the main surgical treatment option for vertebral compression fractures that meet operative indications. The two most commonly used procedures are the vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty. Vertebroplasty, introduced in the U.S. back in the early 1990s, involves injecting cement into a fractured vertebra which can relieve pain, restore vertebral height, and restore spinal mobility.

The procedure is usually done quickly without the need to stay in the hospital overnight. It may be performed with a local anesthetic and intravenous (IV) sedation or general anesthesia. Using x-ray guidance, a small needle containing specially formulated bone cement is injected into the collapsed vertebra. The cement hardens within minutes, strengthening and stabilizing the fractured vertebra. Most experts believe that pain relief is achieved through mechanical support and stability provided by the bone cement. Kyphoplasty is a modification of this technique where a balloon is used to help guide the cement and increase the height of the collapsed bone.