vertebral augmentation

Vertebral augmentation describes minimally invasive procedures that are used to stabilize a fractured vertebra to reduce the patient's pain. Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are two related vertebral augmentation procedures.

Most people who undergo vertebral augmentation have suffered a spinal vertebral compression fracture. A compression fracture is usually caused by relatively minor trauma in patients with osteoporosis, a disease that leaves spinal vertebrae weak and brittle and prone to fracture. Fractures can also be caused by a spinal infection or tumor, or from more significant trauma to the spine.

Vertebral augmentation is an outpatient procedure. Patients typically go home the same day as the procedure. These procedures involve injecting "cement," or methylmethacrylate, after first placing needles into the bone.


Vertebroplasty is a procedure in which bone cement is injected directly into a fractured vertebral body in order to create a type of internal cast to stabilize the fractured bone. Vertebroplasty was introduced in the US in the early 1990s.

Balloon kyphoplasty

Similar to vertebroplasty, kyphoplasty is a procedure that is designed to create an internal cast inside of the fractured bone in order to stabilize it. In addition, this procedure is designed with the goal of reducing the deformity of the bone (usually in the form of an outward curve of the thoracic spine known as kyphosis) and restoring vertebral height. Another difference is that with balloon kyphoplasty, a thicker (more viscous) cement is introduced into the bone using larger injection cannulas and less pressure.

In balloon kyphoplasty, a balloon is first inserted into the damaged vertebral body. Once inside the damaged vertebra, the balloon is then inflated to create a cavity within the bone that can be filled with bone cement. The cavity created contains most of the injected cement, and the balloon helps to compress the fracture fragments together as the cavity is created.

Balloon kyphoplasty was introduced in the US in the late 1990s.


For more information, or to schedule a procedure, please call (513) 891-7231 to request a consultation with Dr. Dorio or a member of his team of experienced interventional radiologists.