What is a Kyphoplasty & How Can it Help Me?

A minimally invasive spine procedure that is being performed with increased frequency across the orthopedic community is kyphoplasty. This procedure is meant solely for those who have a compression fracture in one or more vertebrae in the spine. With the help of a balloon, the act of relieving chronic back pain due to a vertebral compression fracture has revolutionized.

What is a vertebral fracture?

It is important to know that the spine is made up of 33 bones called vertebrae. A vertebral compression fracture is a result of a break or crack in one of these bones. Typically, this happens to vertebrae that have degenerated over time due to aging and the deterioration of the vertebrae. A vertebral compression fracture can also be the result of an accident, such as a car crash. There are more than 700,000 vertebral compression fractures a year in America, so it is important to see a physician for a prompt diagnosis.

What are the symptoms of a compression fracture?

  • Sudden and severe pain in your back
  • Limited spinal movement
  • Increased pain while walking
  • Decreased pain when laying down
  • Loss of height
  • Deformity (kyphosis, or round back)

What is a Kyphoplasty Procedure?

Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that can treat a vertebral compression fracture. When a kyphoplasty is performed, the surgeon utilizes a continuous live x-ray called fluoroscopy. This creates a live visualization of the placement of instruments since the incision is so small. A small needle is then guided into the fractured vertebrae where the surgeon then inflates a small balloon. The balloon restores height to the collapsed vertebra. The cavity that the balloon created is then filled with surgical cement that will immediately stabilize the bone. The incisions are so small that stitches aren’t even required, just a bandage.

Who is eligible for Kyphoplasty?

Kyphoplasty is one of many treatments available for vertebral compression fractures, however, it is the only minimally invasive option. Kyphoplasty is not meant for back pain that is not caused by a vertebral compression fracture. Typically, these are what make an ideal kyphoplasty candidate:

  • Increased back pain due to compression fracture
  • Reduced ability to move and function because of the fracture
  • Pain is related to the fracture and no other problems