My father-in-law has a compression fracture in his spine. He's asked me to research his treatment options. I've found out the latest is a minor surgery called vertebroplasty. What can you tell me about it?
Vertebroplasty is the use of cement injected inside the broken bone. It fills up all the cracks of the fracture and hardens to stabilize the bone. The idea was first tried in France in 1984 so it's been around more than 20 years.
Since then the technique has been improved and modified. Now the surgeon can also do a procedure called a kyphoplasty. In the kyphoplasty, a cavity is formed in the center of the bone. A special balloon is inserted and then inflated. A similar cement is then injected into the hole.
The idea of the kyphoplasty is to restore the natural height of the bone. A collapsed bone changes how the spine works. The kyphoplasty stabilizes and restores the bone.
The surgeon will be able to tell you whether your father-in-law is a good candidate for one of these treatment options. According to studies done, both are safe and effective.
Isador H. Lieberman, MD, MBA, FRCS(C), et al. Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty: Filler Materials. In The Spine Journal. November/December 2005. Vol. 5. No. 6S. Pp. 305S-316S.