Vertebral augmentation is a surgical procedure designed to reduce back pain caused by vertebral compression fractures. Vertebral compression fractures are common in those with osteoporosis. They can also be caused by cancer in the spine and benign tumors.
Symptoms of vertebral compression fractures include:
- Back pain
- Height loss
- Difficulty walking or standing
- Trouble twisting, stretching or bending
How Vertebral Augmentation Works
Vertebral augmentation is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that can be done under local or general anesthesia. During vertebral augmentation, a balloon is inflated in the fractured vertebra through a small incision.
The inflated balloon creates a cavity inside the vertebral body. Once this cavity is created, the balloon is then deflated and removed. The cavity is then filled with bone cement to help stabilize the compression fracture. Once the cement hardens, it adds strength to the spine and helps prevent future fractures.
This procedure typically takes one hour for each fracture treated. The recovery time is fairly quick, with most patients returning home the same day.
Conditions Vertebral Augmentation Can Treat
Vertebral augmentation can be used to treat vertebral compression fractures due to osteoporosis, cancer, or benign tumors.
Am I a Good Candidate for Vertebral Augmentation?
To be considered a candidate for vertebral augmentation, a patient must have a compression fracture in the spine. Other spinal problems such as disk herniation, arthritis, or stenosis will not benefit from this procedure.
Your doctor will perform a medical screening and review imaging tests to assess your condition. A CT scan or MRI may be performed before surgery to ensure that you are a good candidate for vertebral augmentation.