Vertebral compression fracture is a frequent cause of debilitating pain from bone weakened by osteoporosis, disease, or cancer.
The symptoms are severe thoracic or lumbar pain worsened with motion, especially bending forward. Bracing and medications can help the symptoms slowly ease but some people need quicker relief. Stabilizing the fracture with cement allows near immediate relief of fracture pain. This can be performed by either vertebroplasty or balloon kyphoplasty procedure. They are similar procedures where under x-ray guidance a needle is placed into the center of the fractured vertebra.
If doing a vertebroplasty cement is placed into the area through the needle and with a kyphoplasty a balloon is inflated first to try to create a cavity and increase the height of the fractured bone before placing the cement. The cement hardens in just a few minutes and weight bearing through the bone when standing will be much improved. Studies have shown that augmenting the fractured bone decreases related conditions and problems that result from allowing the fractures to increase over time.