What is Kyphoplasty
Kyphoplasty is used to treat pain caused by vertebral compression fractures in the spine. Vertebral fractures occur in thousands of people each year. The main cause of these fractures is osteoporosis. Osteoporosis causes bone to lose strength and become more susceptible to fractures. Kyphoplasty should be completed within eight weeks of when the fracture occurs, this is for the maximum probability of restoring the spinal bone to its standard height.
To confirm the presence of a compression fracture following tests needs to be done after a physical examination:
- Blood tests,
- Spine x-rays
- Radioisotope bone scan or
How is Kyphoplasty Performed?
Kyphoplasty is performed under local or general anesthesia. Using image guidance x-rays, two small incisions are made and a probe is placed into the vertebral space where the fracture is located. The bone is drilled and a balloon, called a bone tamp, is inserted on each side. These balloons are then inflated with contrast medium until they expand to the desired height and removed. The balloon does not remain in the patient. It simply creates a cavity for the cement and also helps expand the compressed bone.
The spaces created by the balloons are then filled with PMMA, the same orthopaedic cement used in vertebroplasty, binding the fracture. The cement hardens quickly, providing strength and stability to the vertebra, restoring height, and relieving pain.
Recovery from kyphoplasty
Pain relief will be immediate for some patients. In others, elimination or reduction of pain is reported within two days. At home, patients can return to their normal daily activities, although strenuous exertion, such as heavy lifting, should be avoided for at least six weeks.
Patients should see their physician to begin or review their treatment plan for osteoporosis, including medications to prevent further bone loss.
Candidates for kyphoplasty
Kyphoplasty cannot correct an established deformity of the spine, and certain patients with osteoporosis are not candidates for this treatment. Patients experiencing painful symptoms or spinal deformities from recent osteoporotic compression fractures are likely candidates for kyphoplasty. The procedure should be completed within 8 weeks of when the fracture occurs for the highest probability of restoring height.
Benefits of Kyphoplasty
Limitations in the traditional treatments of vertebral compression fractures have led to the refinement of such procedures as kyphoplasty. This procedure provide new options for compression fractures and are designed to relieve pain, reduce and stabilize fractures, reduce spinal deformity, and stop the “downward spiral” of untreated osteoporosis.
Additional benefits of kyphoplasty include
- Short surgical time
- Only general or local anesthesia required
- Average hospital stay is one day (or less)
- Patients can quickly return to the normal activities of daily living
- No bracing required
Kyphoplasty utilize a cement-like material that is injected directly into the fractured bone. This stabilizes the fracture and provides immediate pain relief, in many cases. Kyphoplasty has the additional advantage of being able to restore height to the spine, thus reducing deformity. After either procedure, most patients quickly return to their normal daily activities
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