Pain Management – Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty

Benefits

  • Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty can increase a patient's functional abilities and allow return to the previous level of activity without any form of physical therapy or rehabilitation.
  • These procedures are usually successful at alleviating the pain caused by a vertebral compression fracture; many patients feel significant relief almost immediately or within a few days. Many patients become symptom-free.
  • Following vertebroplasty, about 75 percent of patients regain lost mobility and become more active, which helps combat osteoporosis. After the procedure, patients who had been immobile can get out of bed, and this can help reduce their risk of pneumonia. Increased activity builds more muscle strength, further encouraging mobility.
  • Usually, vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are safe and effective procedures.
  • No surgical incision is needed—only a small nick in the skin that does not have to be stitched closed.

Risks

  • Any procedure where the skin is penetrated carries a risk of infection. The chance of infection requiring antibiotic treatment appears to be less than one in 1,000.
  • A small amount of orthopedic cement can leak out of the vertebral body. This does not usually cause a serious problem, unless the leakage moves into a potentially dangerous location such as the spinal canal or the blood vessels of the lungs.
  • Other possible complications include infection, bleeding, increased back pain and neurological symptoms such as numbness or tingling. Paralysis is extremely rare.
  • Approximately 10 percent of patients may develop additional compression fractures after vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty. When this occurs, patients usually have relief from the procedure for a few days but develop recurrent pain soon thereafter.
  • There is a low risk of allergic reaction to the medications.