Kyphoplasty is a surgical procedure that can be used to treat medical problems resulting from an acute vertebral compression fracture. An acute vertebral compression fracture occurs when a vertebra collapses due to spinal damage or degeneration. These fractures are often the result of cancer, severe arthritis, or car wrecks and other accidents. They can also be caused by bone conditions such as osteoporosis and osteopenia. These conditions are characterized by a reduction in bone density, leaving the bones much more susceptible to fractures.
To perform a kyphoplasty, our pain management doctor inserts a large syringe or tube through the skin and into the spinal bone. Through the use of X-ray images, a balloon is inserted through the tube and into the damaged bone. As the balloon inflates, the fractured bone is restored to a more normal shape and height. Once the bone pieces are raised, the resulting hollow area is filled with a special type of cement. The bone cement quickly hardens and maintains the stability of the repaired vertebra.
For some patients, kyphoplasty will lead to immediate pain relief. For others, the pain will begin to fade after two days or so. Patients should not drive after the procedure without the approval of a physician. Patients are typically able to walk right away, although staying in bed as much as possible for the next 24 hours is recommended. The patient can resume normal activities after this 24-hour period, although heavy lifting and exercise should be avoided for six weeks. If the area around the injection site becomes inflamed, ice packs can be used to reduce swelling and pain. Doctors may prescribe pain medications orphysical therapy during the recovery period. Physical therapy can build up atrophied muscles and reduce the effects of osteoporosis and osteopenia.
Benefits Of Kyphoplasty Treatment
According to the American Society of Orthopaedic Surgeons, kyphoplasty procedures are effective for 95 percent of patients. The quality of life of patients generally improves drastically after the procedure due to the pain reduction, and it can be used as an alternative to pain medications. Patients also enjoy increased mobility due to the more natural functioning of the spinal cord. If a patient has experienced a reduction in height due to a compression fracture, the repositioning of the bone should mitigate or correct the issue.
Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive surgery, but it is not entirely free of risks. One of the more common side effects is bleeding and bruising around the injection site. The cement used in the kyphoplasty surgery is generally safe, but it can lead to complications during the recovery period. If the cement irritates the nerves in the spine, the patient may experience pain and numbness in the back and legs. In some cases, cement leaks outside the bones and into areas such as veins and spinal discs. Nerve and spine damage can be caused by the surgical instruments used during the procedure. Some patients are sensitive to the fluid used during X-ray imaging and may experience severe allergic reactions.