Vertebroplasty is very similar to kyphoplasty, but does not involve a balloon. This promising procedure is primarily used to decrease pain and strengthen bones associated with vertebral compression fractures and abnormal vertebrae configurations caused by osteoporosis and metastatic bone lesions. This minimally invasive technique has high success rates.
The procedure involves making a small incision and inserting a hollow needle into the fractured area of the spine. Acrylic cement is mixed into a toothpaste-like consistency and combined with a substance called barium, which improves the viewing of the procedure. When the needle position is perfect, the cement is injected into the fractured vertebra. The doctor watches the cement as it enters the spinal column to make sure that it does not leak out of the vertebra in a way that could be harmful.
Patients can often go home the same day, returning to normal activity levels soon after the procedure.