KyphoplastyKyphoplasty is a minimally invasive spinal surgery procedure used to treat painful, progressive vertebral compression fractures.
Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive spinal surgery procedure used to treat painful, progressive vertebral compression fractures (VCFs). A VCF is a fracture in the body of a vertebra, which causes it to collapse. In turn, this causes the spinal column above it to develop an abnormal forward curve. VCFs may be caused by osteoporosis (an age-related softening of the bones) or by the spread of tumor to the vertebral body. Certain forms of cancer can also weaken bone and cause the same problems.
Kyphoplasty involves the use of a device called a balloon tamp to restore the height and shape of the vertebral body. This is followed by application of bone cement to strengthen the vertebra. The procedure is performed with the patient lying face down on the operating room table and under intravenous sedation. Two x-ray machines are used to show the collapsed bones.
To begin, the physician makes two small (less than 3 mm) incisions in the back. A tube is inserted into the center of the vertebral body to the site of the fractured bone. The balloon tamp is then inserted down the tube and inflated. This pushes the bone back to its normal height and shape.
Inflation of the balloon creates a cavity in the vertebral body, which the surgeon fills with bone cement. When the cement hardens, the tubes are removed. The incisions are closed with a single stitch, and patients usually go home the same day. Patients can go back to all normal activities of daily living as soon as possible with no restrictions.
It is recommended that kyphoplasty be performed soon after a VCF happens to best restore vertebral body height and size. After kyphoplasty, severe osteoporosis may cause other fractures at other levels of the spine. All patients must take bone-strengthening medications during treatment. If more vertebrae collapse, kyphoplasty can be used at those other levels. Kyphoplasty tends to help prevent additional fractures by keeping the spine aligned in its native upright position. X-ray of collapsed vertebral body before kyphoplasty.
Early results show kyphoplasty is a safe and effective method to relieve pain and correct the deformity associated with an osteoporotic VCF. More than 95% of patients rate their treatment a success. Patients are able to return to all of their previous activities, and typically do not need any form of physical therapy or rehabilitation. Because bone cement hardens within 15 minutes, there is really no healing that needs to happen from the patient's standpoint.
Pain resulting from the procedure itself will typically diminish within 2 weeks.
If the pain is due to arthritis in the spine, the usual treatment is medications and an ongoing exercise program.