Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Upper Spine FAQ

Question:

What's the difference between vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty for spine fractures?

Answer:

A vertebroplasty is the injection of a special cement through a needle into a weak or fractured vertebral body. The surgeon is guided using a special X-ray called fluoroscopy. It's a way to decrease the patient's pain while strengthening the bone.

his treatment is used for bone collapse from osteoporosis at all levels of the spine from the neck down.

yphoplasty uses the same idea but instead of cement, an inflatable balloon is used to expand a collapsed vertebral body. The balloon is blown up to restore the vertebral body as close as possible to its natural height. Then cement is injected into the cavity.

Making an opening with the balloon allows cement to go into the cavity under lower pressure than during vertebroplasty. There's a risk of re-fracture when the pressure is more than the bone can handle. One problem with kyphoplasty is that the cement can leak outside the vertebral body.

Fergus McKiernan, MD et al. Quality of Life Following Vertebroplasty. In The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. December 2004. Vol. 86-A. No. 12. Pp. 2600-2605.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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