Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are minimally invasive, low risk procedures that are used to treat a fracture of the spine, sometimes when other procedures haven’t worked. Both techniques involve an injection of a special type of cement to stabilise and strengthen the bone to relieve back pain. However, these procedures are not widely available and are currently only performed in some specialist centres including the Fortius Clinic.
What do the procedures involve?
- Vertebroplasty: bone (usually acrylic) cement is injected into the broken bone in the spine. This is usually performed as a day case procedure and takes up to two hours
- Kyphoplasty: a high pressure balloon is inserted into the broken or collapsed bone and inflated to increase its height. The balloon is then deflated and the space it leaves is filled with bone cement. You will normally be admitted to hospital for this procedure and stay overnight
Both procedures are performed percutaneously (ie, through the skin) by injection, using a local anaesthetic as well as a painkiller. The surgeon may use an X-ray machine to enable them to perform this procedure.
How successful is surgery?
Having kyphoplasty can mean you will have less pain and a better quality of life afterwards; you should be able to move more easily and need fewer painkillers. After having vertebroplasty, most people can return to their everyday activities within a few days.
How long does it take to recover?
For most people, recovery is fast and often pain levels improve even within hours of having had either procedure.
- If you’ve had kyphoplasty, you will be advised to spend a day in bed to allow yourself time to recover; however, after that, most people can return to their everyday activities (although you should avoid heavy lifting or too much exercise for around six weeks)
- If you’ve had vertebroplasty, you may find you can carry on with everyday activities within hours of the procedure
When can I return to sport?
Most people can gradually return to sport after around six weeks.
Important: This information is only a guideline to help you understand your treatment and what to expect. Everyone is different and your rehabilitation may be quicker or slower than other people’s. Please contact us for advice if you’re worried about any aspect of your health or recovery.