Vertebral compression fractures (VCFs) can be very painful. For many patients, the symptoms can't be managed by rest and medication alone.
Fortunately, there are a few minimally invasive treatments to help patients with VCFs. A technique called vertebroplasty was introduced in 1987. In this procedure, a special kind of cement is injected into the broken vertebral body. This method strengthens the broken bone and is very effective in relieving pain.
An even newer procedure called kyphoplasty uses a balloon-like instrument to "inflate" the broken vertebral body back to its original height. The instrument makes a space within the fractured vertebral body. The space is then filled with thick bone cement.
Both procedures seem to give patients excellent pain relief. However, kyphoplasty may have some advantages. According to a recent paper, kyphoplasty has a better chance of restoring the proper height of the vertebra. Also, the thicker cement used in kyphoplasty seems less likely to leak into other areas.
Ask your doctor whether either of these procedures may be helpful in your case.