Some patients may suffer a vertebral fracture for a variety of reasons. Traumatic fractures often need to be dealt with by fusion surgery.
However, patients who have had a vertebral collapse as a consequence of age and osteoporosis may be treated with a vertebral augmentation procedure - sometimes referred to as a kyphoplasty. Rather than a surgical fusion this involves reinforcing the vertebrae with a cement mixture.
This procedure is carried out by Circle Health’s experienced orthopaedic or radiology consultants and can be varied out under a general anaesthetic or local anaesthetic.
The procedure is done under imaging guidance to direct a cannula (small tube and needle) into the collapsed portion of the vertebrae. It's possible that you can inflate a balloon to create a small cavity within the bone and this is termed a balloon kyphoplasty.
If a balloon is used, then the balloon will be inflated and your consultant will carefully inject a cement mixture in to the cavity. The procedure has two advantages. One advantage is to manually provide support to the collapsed vertebrae.
The other is that the very hot cement that is injected also burns off a number of nerve endings and this too can reduce patient’s pain. Due to this combination, many patients can see excellent results very quickly after the procedure and can return to normal daily activities in far less pain.
The risks of vertebral augmentation be discussed in detail with you by your clinician prior to your procedure. Potential complications which affect a small percentage of patients can include:
- Leakage of the cement out of the vertebra which has the potential to cause new problems such as pain, sensory problems and weakness if this compresses the spinal cordor nerves.
- Infection can occur in very rare circumstances although our theatres have ultra-clean air operating conditions keeping infection rates to the minimum.
- The intended benefits of reduced pain and increased function may not be felt.
Patients who have undergone vertebral augmentation will often see some benefits immediately after the procedure. However, significant benefits may also continue for 6 weeks as the collapsed vertebrae heals further.
Once your pain levels have reduced sufficiently our expert physiotherapists will work closely with you to:
- Increase strength in your spine
- Increase balance and co-ordination