Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive, outpatient type of spine surgery that is designed to repair cracked or broken vertebrae. It is very similar to vertebroplasty – in which a special cement is injected to fill in the broken bone – except that a tiny balloon is first inserted into the injured spot. Once placed, the balloon is inflated to create extra space which will be filled with bone cement.
The procedure is designed to help fractured and/or compressed vertebrae regain their original shape. Once healed, the patient’s back should be straight again when standing or sitting, not hunched at all.
Doctors might recommend kyphoplasty for people with cancer-damaged vertebrae, vertebrae weakened by osteoporosis, and related spinal fractures. Osteoporosis results in the vertebrae weakening and possibly collapsing, thereby causing pain or very poor posture.
How Is Kyphoplasty Done?
The doctor will first order an MRI scan to assess the affected vertebrae and to locate the exact locations of any fractures in the spine. During the kyphoplasty procedure, the patient is first anesthetized, and the surgeon will use a fluoroscope to guide the needle into the fractured bone.
Once the precise location of the fracture is found, the doctor will inflate a small balloon in the injured area to create space for the cement to fill. The doctor will then inject the cement while using the fluoroscope to verify placement.
Once injected, the cement hardens the cracks, restoring the patient’s lost height and adding integrity to the structural aspects of the spinal vertebrae. The doctor then simply removes the balloon and the needle, without any need for stitches.
The whole procedure from start to finish takes about an hour, depending on how many vertebrae the orthopedist is treating.
Risks of Kyphoplasty
Aside from the normal risks of surgery, like infection and reactions to anesthesia, this procedure also has some specific risks. Those include the possibility of:
- Cement leaking out of position
- Allergic reaction to the contrast materials used to highlight the fractures
These risks can increase with an increased number of vertebrae being treated with kyphoplasty.
Who Can Benefit from This Spine Surgery?
Any person who has painful, chronic back pain caused by osteoporosis or a vertebral compression fracture can be helped by kyphoplasty. To receive this treatment, the back pain cannot be caused by herniated discs, arthritis, or spinal stenosis.
A gamut of diagnostic tests may be ordered to verify the presence of vertebral fractures. The procedure, when successful, can restore structural integrity to the spine and also restore lost height from weakened vertebrae.
Back Pain Doctors in Palm Beach County
If you or a loved one is suffering from chronic back pain, hunched posture, or a suddenly shrinking height, they may benefit from the minimally-invasive kyphoplasty procedure.
Contact us today at Personalized Orthopedics of the Palm Beaches by calling (561) 733-5888 or request a consultation online. Find out what the world looks like again from a taller, more pain-free point of view!