The American Society of Interventional Radiology has estimated that 700,000 vertebral or spinal bone fractures occur each year. These are usually in women over the age of 60 with the most common etiology being osteoporosis. An acute vertebral compression fracture can be very painful and disabling. The injection of cement-like materials (bone mineral substitute) into the vertebrae to treat pain is called “vertebroplasty”, while this minimally-invasive procedure for the purpose of also restoring vertebral height is referred to a “kyphoplasty.” Both procedures are performed under local anesthesia with supplementation.
Vertebroplasty was first introduced in France (1984) and has been popularized in the United States by Mary Jensen. In 1998, the United States Food and Drug Administration approved the KyphX inflatable vertebroplasty device for use in expanding and injecting collapsed vertebrae. Spine neuroradiologist Mark Myers has provided the pros and cons regarding these procedures for Burton Report.
The Burton Experience is that both Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty have become important minimally invasive spinal therapy procedures. They represent good examples of minimally invasive restorative spine care. Because their performance requires a high degree of technical skill and experience it is important for the patient to select a skilled practitioner.