Kyphoplasty/Vertebroplasty

Kyphoplasty and/or Vertebroplasty are new procedures sometimes done for patients with lower thoracic and lumbar vertebral compression fractures. However, typically vertebral compression fractures do heal over time and can be treated with pain medications, bracing, and/or facet/epidural steroid injections. If these more conservative measures fail, then one can consider doing a kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty. This requires careful placement of one to two needles into the vertebral body. With a kyphoplasty a cavity is first created within the vertebral body.  Slow injection of a special cement glue containing dye is done while looking at an x-ray machine. If any of the dye goes into a blood vessel or near the epidural space, the procedure may have to be stopped before completed. The procedure does have the extra increased risks of paraplegia, pulmonary embolus and possible death.  However, it often helps decrease the significant pain and decrease the amount of pain medications required.

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