Kyphoplasty is a procedure used to treat certain fractures in vertebrae, or bones of the spine. The fractures treated by kyphoplasty are compression fractures. These fractures usually occur in bones weakened by osteoporosis (a thinning of the bones). In compression fractures, the main section of bone known as the vertebral body collapses. These fractures are not only painful, but they may put harmful pressure on the nearby nerve roots or on the spinal cord itself.
Non-operative treatments like pain medication, activity modification, and/or bracing can be utilized for these fractures. Vertebral fractures can take about three to six months to fully heal with these measures. However, some patients may continue to have progressive collapse of their vertebrae. Braces are extremely uncomfortable and can affect pulmonary function among other issues and along with medication do not always guarantee healing. Kyphoplasty treats these fractures by making space in the bone that was lost when the bone collapsed, then filling that space with a solid, cement-like mixture. This procedure is an immediate fix with no bracing or medications needed. But a kyphoplasty may not be right for all fractures. Evaluating an individual’s case and determining the best procedure for that patient is imperative. This procedure may be performed under local or general anesthesia.
To perform the kyphoplasty, a thin surgical needle with a balloon inside it is used. The instrument is inserted through the skin and back muscles and into the bone. The balloon is then inflated, which comes out the end of the needle and creates a space in the vertebra as it inflates. This portion of the procedure usually helps the bone regain its normal shape. Next, the filler mixture is injected through the needle and into the balloon. This procedure does not require stitches and usually takes less than an hour.
Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive, office-based procedure that stabilizes the fracture and usually provides immediate pain relief in most patients. For more information on balloon kyphoplasty, contact Comprehensive Pain Management in Franklin, MA.