UW Radiology

Spinal and Vertebral Interventions

1. Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty

Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are minimally invasive procedures that treat vertebral body compression fractures in the spinal column. These fractures often occur from osteoporosis and cause significant back pain and decreased mobility. The procedure is performed by inserting a needle through the back into the fractured vertebral body after application of a local anesthetic (lidocaine). The positioning of the needle is confirmed on real-time x-ray images (fluoroscopy) or computed tomography (CT). A special bone cement is then injected through the needle to support the fracture (vertebroplasty) or a balloon is inflated within the fracture to expand it before injecting the bone cement (kyphoplasty). Following the procedure most patients leave the hospital the same day after a short stay in recovery. Mobility is improved in >75% of patients who undergo the procedure. 

Sedation: Local anesthesia (lidocaine) and moderate sedation (fentanyl and midazolam) or general anesthesia (completely asleep with an endotracheal tube).

Procedure time: 60 minutes.