Kyphoplasty is a treatment for patients immobilized by the painful vertebral body compression fractures (VCFs) associated with osteoporosis or cancer. Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that can reduce compression fracture pain by a moderate to significant amount and additionally may stabilize the fracture, restore height and reduce deformity.

How is Kyphoplasty Performed?

Kyphoplasty is performed in-office, on a outpatient basis. Using image guidance x-rays, two tiny incisions are made and a probe is placed into the vertebra where the fracture is located. A balloon, called a bone tamp, is inserted on each side. These balloons are then inflated until they expand to the desired height, then removed. The spaces created by the balloons are then filled with PMMA, the same orthopedic cement used for many years to cement artificial joints such as hips, binding the fracture. The cement hardens quickly, providing strength and stability to the vertebra, restoring height and relieving pain. This has been described as “placing a cast on the inside of the bone”.

Kyphoplasty is an outpatient procedure that takes about an hour to perform, including the preparation time. Recovery is bed rest for approximately two hours before discharge. Patients are usually able to resume activity as tolerated soon afterward.

Benefits of Kyphoplasty

Limitations in the traditional treatments of vertebral compression fractures have led to the refinement of such procedures as kyphoplasty. These procedures 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 these procedures include:

  • short surgical time
  • is performed on outpatient basis, in office
  • patients can usually return to the prior level of activity
  • no bracing required

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