Vertebroplasty & Kyphoplasty

Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty are non surgical treatments for pain caused by vertebral compression fractures that fail to respond to conventional medical treatment. These procedures are performed using image guidance (fluoroscopy). In kyphoplasty, a small balloon is inserted into the bone and expanded to create a space for the cement. 
Medical grade bone cement is injected into the porous space of the vertebra.  The cement hardens and stabilizes the vertebral fracture. These procedures can increase the patient's functional abilities, allow a return to the previous level of activity, and prevent further vertebral collapse. It is usually successful at alleviating the pain caused by a compression fracture.

All vertebral fractures are not created equally.  You should consult your medical professional to determine which procedure is right for you.

How do I prepare for the procedure?
You will be scheduled for a consultation with the Interventional Radiology Team. Bring a list of questions to ask your doctor. It is important that you understand exactly what procedure is planned, the risks, benefits and other options before your procedure.

What happens during the procedure?
Conscious sedation will be administered through an IV.  You may also receive an antibiotic.  You will be connected to several types of monitoring equipment. Your vital signs will be monitored frequently throughout the procedure. You will be placed on the procedure table in a face down (prone) position.The Interventional Radiologist will inject lidocaine (local anesthetic) under the skin and surrounding area to numb the site where the needle is inserted. Using fluoroscopy, the Interventional Radiologist will guide a hollow needle into the collapsed vertebra.  The cement is injected when the needle is properly positioned.  You will need to remain prone (face down) until the cement has hardened.  You can then be moved from the procedure table onto a stretcher.  The entire procedure can take up to two hours.

What happens after the procedure?
You will need to remain flat for a few hours as you recover from the sedation medication.You will be transferred from the radiology procedure area to a recovery area.  Though overnight admission is not required for all patients, you should plan on spending the better part of the day at the hospital.  The necessity of hospital admission is made on an individual basis and should be discussed with your medical professional prior to the procedure.  (If you have traveled several hours to the hospital, you may want to consider staying locally overnight, if you are discharged the same day, to avoid a bumpy car ride home the same day as your procedure).

What happens when I go home? 
It is best to remain quiet the next day.  Gradually increase your activity. You may resume all your medication unless instructed otherwise.Have someone check the dressing on your back. Do not take a tub bath, go in a hot tub or submerge in water for 5 days. Leave the sterile dressing on for 24 hours, then shower and clean the area daily.  Place a clean Band-Aid over the site each day for 5 days. Notify your Doctor if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever                                         
  • Numbness        
  • Increasing back pain      
  • Bleeding                 
  • Tingling             
  • Chills
  • Injection site drainage

If you have any questions or need to reschedule an appointment please feel free to contact the Interventional Radiology Office at 802- 847-8359. Our business hours are Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Someone is available to take your call after hours for emergencies.

This information is provided by the Fletcher Allen Health Care, Department of Radiology, Division of Interventional Radiology and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. For additional health information, please contact your health care provider.