Vertebral augmentation is a minimally invasive surgical procedure to treat compression vertebral fractures. This technique stabilizes the fracture, reduces pain and checks the development of further complications. Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are the two types of vertebral augmentation surgeries used to deliver relief to patients suffering from severe, disabling pain caused by a vertebral fracture that is not cured by non-invasive therapies like pharmacological therapy and brace immobilization.
In both vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty, a small, minimally invasive incision is made in the skin using fluoroscopy with guidance from X-ray imaging and a stabilizing cement is placed into the fractured vertebra. Even though the two procedures are similar in many ways, a few dissimilarities remain which leads to the question ‘Which is better Vertebroplasty or Kyphoplasty?’
A large number of studies have been conducted which have proven the efficacy of vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty surgical techniques. An extensive literature review survey has been performed by Hulme et al., to evaluate the benefits and risks associated with these two procedures. 92% patients who had undergone kyphoplasty and 87% who went through vertebroplasty, reported some relief from pain. Since vertebral compression fractures leads to loss of vertebral height, the augmentation surgeries also helps restore the loss of height. Kyphoplasty led to the restoration of vertebral height in patients who underwent the surgery while a subset of patients treated with vertebroplasty, showed some signs of vertebral height recovery. Another problem associated with these vertebral augmentation techniques is cement leak from the point of administration. 9% of kyphoplasty treated vertebrae and 40% of vertebroplasty treated vertebrae displayed cement leaks. New fractures in adjacent vertebrae occurred at almost similar rates for both the procedures.
A study conducted by Taylor et al., attempted to compare the benefits and risks associated with vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty as a means of vertebral compression fracture treatment. Their study found that even though there is no direct evidence of a comparison of the two techniques, as per indirect comparison using evidence from case studies, both the techniques appeared to bring similar gains in pain alleviation. However, there is evidence to prove that balloon kyphoplasty led to better improvements in a patient’s lifestyle and functionality than vertebroplasty. The rate of adverse side effects of these procedures seem to be rare in both the cases. So, from the above studies, it can be summarized that even though both kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty are associated with almost similar benefits and risks, the former has a slight advantage over the latter in terms of efficacy.
When you consider the cost factor, kyphoplasty is 10 to 20 times more expensive than vertebroplasty. The latter is usually performed without general anesthesia under conscious sedation at an outpatient department while the former requires general anesthesia and inpatient services. This is why kyphoplasty is more time and budget consuming than vertebroplasty.
So, if you live in San Diego and are suffering from vertebral compression fracture symptoms that are not healing by non-invasive therapies, you may decide to go for either vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty surgery in San Diego. The specialised doctors at the clinics for pain management in San Diego will assist you in making the correct decision.