Kyphoplasty vs Vertebroplasty: Which is Right for Me?

Kyphoplasty vs Vertebroplasty: Which is Right for Me?

Back injuries are a very common problem, and a bad enough injury can lead to losing time at work, being laid up in bed until you recover, or medical intervention. As many as 2 million people struggle with back injuries annually, and a whopping 80% of adults will deal with this type of problem in their lifetime. 

Several factors can lead to severe back problems like spinal fractures, including accidents and osteoarthritis, and if the spine damage is bad enough it may need vertebral augmentation to repair. This often means the use of surgeries such as kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty, and deciding which procedure you need can be tricky. Let’s examine what vertebral augmentation is, and the differences between kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty to find out which one suits your needs.

If you live in the Pittsburgh, Washington, or McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania area and you're dealing with back pain that requires treatment, Dr. Jocelyn Idema and her dedicated medical team at Steel City Spine and Orthopedic Center can help.

Understanding vertebral augmentation

This is the term used to categorize treatments designed to stabilize fractures in your spine to reduce pain and improve function (though there is a procedure known as a vertebral augmentation implant, but this is another procedure in the category). This is often used with people suffering from compression fractures, which results from the vertebrae (the separate bones in your spine) becoming brittle and prone to fracturing. Each type of vertebral augmentation creates a ‘spinal cast’ of sorts using an injection of bone cement to stabilize the area.

Differences between Kyphoplasty and Vertebroplasty

Osteoporosis, injuries, and some types of bone cancer can lead to the weakening of your vertebrae, and if it leads to a fracture that causes severe and chronic pain, a vertebroplasty is a method to help. This procedure simply involves sedation, X-rays or CT scans to help guide the needle to the targeted vertebra, and placing the cement, which takes about 20 minutes to harden.

Kyphoplasty, on the other hand, is a newer version of this type of augmentation that uses a balloon to expand the compressed bone to provide more height in the vertebra. This helps to create a void to insert the cement into, providing a more targeted approach and helps to avoid deformities in the bone.

Both procedures are primarily useful when treating for pain related to a vertebral fracture and not other back problems like spinal stenosis, herniated discs, or mild arthritis. Kyphoplasty, however, is considered a better choice if your spinal fracture is severe, if there are multiple fractures present, and there is an immediate threat of the bone collapsing. The balloon procedure allows for better control in those situations to avoid potential complications during treatment.

If you’re struggling with severe back pain, and you need these or other treatments to relieve that pain, make an appointment with Dr. Idema and Steel City Spine and Orthopedic Center today.

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