An Overview of Vertebroplasty (Kyphoplasty): What You Should Know

Have you ever heard of vertebroplasty? It may sound like an intimidating medical procedure, but in actuality, it’s a relatively straightforward and minimally-invasive procedure that can help patients who are suffering from spinal pain due to fractures from osteoporosis or cancer.

Vertebroplasty is an outpatient procedure often used when more conservative back pain treatments fail. In the procedure, a special cement is injected into the damaged vertebrae to help stabilize the fracture and prevent further collapse. This can help reduce pain and restore mobility for many patients.

So if you’re considering vertebroplasty or want to learn more about it, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll provide an overview of vertebroplasty, including how it works and its associated risks.

What Is Vertebroplasty?

Vertebroplasty (or Kyphoplasty) is a medical procedure used to repair fractured or collapsed vertebrae and reduce back pain. The procedure is minimally invasive, making it an attractive option for people who don’t want to go under the knife for traditional spine surgeries.

There are two main steps of vertebroplasty. The first step involves injecting a cement-like material, calcium phosphate or polymethylmethacrylate, into the vertebral body through a hollow tube (or needles). This helps fill the fractured or collapsed bone, making the vertebrae stronger and less prone to further collapse.

The second step of this procedure includes using a balloon to enlarge an area near the fracture, which creates space for more of the cement-like material. This helps with pain relief and restoring lost height in some cases.

Who Is a Candidate for Vertebroplasty?

You may be a candidate for vertebroplasty if you’re experiencing severe pain due to a fracture or compression in your spine. This minimally-invasive procedure uses an image-guided cement injection into the affected vertebra to relieve painful compression fractures.

Candidates for the procedure often experience:

  • Severe, intractable back pain.
  • Difficulty standing or walking due to weakened bones.
  • Height loss from chronic compression fractures.
  • Spinal deformity due to multiple fractures.
  • Loss of quality of life from persistent and disabling pain.

However, it’s important to note that vertebroplasty is not usually recommended for individuals with osteoporosis or those with only one fracture. Consult your doctor if you think this type of procedure might suit you.

What Are the Benefits of Undergoing Vertebroplasty?

The benefits of vertebroplasty are numerous and can significantly improve your quality of life. First, it’s virtually painless, and the procedure is minimally invasive. Plus, it’s done in just one session, so you don’t have to worry about repeat visits or long recoveries—it’s a quick fix that can last for years.

Vertebroplasty can also help reduce the pain associated with osteoporotic vertebral fractures and help restore lost height. It does this by injecting bone cement into the fractured vertebrae to stabilize them and fill in any gaps in the damaged spine caused by compression or fractures.

This helps create a stronger support structure within the spine, which helps the patient feel more stable and secure while standing or moving.

Patients who have undergone vertebroplasty have reported significantly improved quality of life, including less pain and better mobility. The procedure relieves pain and discomfort and allows patients to get back to activities they may have had to give up due to their fracture-related pain or instability.

Vertebroplasty is minimally invasive and treats spine problems

How Does the Vertebroplasty Procedure Work?

If you’re considering having vertebroplasty surgery, you’re probably wondering how it works. It’s all centered around injecting cement, air, and water into the fractured vertebral body. The procedure is similar to arthroplasty, except it focuses on the back instead of joints like a knee or shoulder.

Here’s how it works:

  • First, your doctor will make a small incision in your skin and numb the area with a local anesthetic.
  • They will then use medical imaging to guide the needle in place.
  • They’ll inject osteocement (a cement-like material designed to help with bone reconstruction) into the fractured vertebrae to hold it in place and stabilize the spine.
  • Sometimes, they may use a balloon to create space and provide support before injecting the cement mixture.
  • Finally, they’ll use X-ray images to ensure everything looks good and there are no unexpected issues with the injection sites.

Once it’s finished, you should feel some relief from pain almost immediately! The results of vertebroplasty typically last for many years — although, if possible, you should still try to avoid any strenuous activity that could cause further damage or stress on your fractured vertebrae after surgery.

What Are the Risks Associated With Vertebroplasty?

Although vertebroplasty is generally a safe and effective procedure, it has some risks. The risks include infection, nerve injury, headache, puncture of lung or other organs in the chest, allergic reaction to anesthesia, and bone fracture. However, these risks are rare and can be minimized by finding a qualified practitioner.


The risk of infection is very low but can occur if bacteria find their way into the area where the cement is injected. Your doctor will use sterile techniques during the injection to minimize this risk.

Nerve Injury

Nerve injury caused by vertebroplasty is also very rare. It can occur if too much cement is injected or the needle used to inject the cement strays too close to a nerve root near the spine. To avoid this risk, your doctor must be extremely precise when injecting cement into the spine.


Headache is another common side effect associated with vertebroplasty. It can occur after surgery due to tension in your neck or from irritation caused by the injection of cement into your spine. Treatment for any headaches you might experience after surgery typically involves taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

What Can You Expect After Having a Vertebroplasty Procedure?

First off, most people experience immediate relief from back pain. This is because the procedure can restore the height of a fractured vertebra and stabilize it so that it does not move and cause any more pain.

In addition, most patients can go home the same day after the procedure and usually return to their normal activities within a few days. Your doctor may recommend taking it easy for a few weeks to allow your body time to heal properly.

You should schedule follow-up visits with your doctor to monitor your recovery and ensure the procedure works. Talking to your doctor about any activity restrictions or physical therapy you may need for optimal healing is also important.

Contact Carolina Spine & Pain Centers Today!

If you want to learn more about vertebroplasty or schedule an appointment, contact Carolina Spine & Pain Centers! Our team of experienced specialists is here to answer any questions that you may have and provide the best care possible.

We offer a thorough evaluation process to properly diagnose your condition and develop a custom treatment plan that works best for you. We use the latest technology and techniques, so you can rest assured that you’re getting the highest quality of care.

Our goal is to help you find relief from chronic pain, improve your mobility and ultimately improve your quality of life. So don’t wait. Contact us today at 864-535-0144, and let’s get started!