Kyphoplasty is a surgical procedure that is used to treat compression fractures of the spine. When a vertebra breaks, bone fragments develop. Those bone fragments then rub or slide against each other. And they sometimes cause harm by protruding into the spinal cord, spinal canal, or nerve roots, causing pain or weakness.
Kyphoplasty uses a surgical filling process to repair an injured or collapsed vertebra. The procedure restores the original shape and configuration of the vertebra to relieve the pain caused by spinal compressions.
What Are the Benefits?
Traditional vertebral compression fracture treatments have been refined over the years and led to procedures such as kyphoplasty. The procedure provides new options for compression fractures and was specifically designed to relieve pain, reduce spinal deformity, reduce and stabilize fractures, and help stop the downward spiral of osteoporosis that has been left untreated.
Here are some of the benefits of kyphoplasty:
- No bracing is required
- It’s an in-office outpatient procedure
- Patients typically return to their prior level of activity
- Pain relief is achieved
- Improved quality of life
How Soon after a Vertebra Fracture Do You Need Kyphoplasty?
Ideally, the surgery should be performed within eight weeks of when the vertebra fracture occurred. This will give the patient the highest probability of restoring height.
An orthopedic doctor might recommend this option if other treatments such as pain medication, activity modification, and/or bracing have failed. Additionally, a doctor might recommend kyphoplasty if the spine appears unstable or if a fracture is putting pressure on the spinal cord.
Is This Considered a Major Surgery?
No, kyphoplasty is an outpatient surgery performed in the doctor’s office. The procedure is performed by making a small skin puncture instead of a large open incision. The entire surgery typically only takes between one and two hours per vertebral level (including the prep time) to complete.
How Is Kyphoplasty Performed?
This is an outpatient procedure that is performed in the doctor’s office. The doctor will begin by using image guidance. They will then make two small incisions just large enough to insert a probe into the vertebra at the location of the fracture. A balloon, called a bone tamp, is then inserted on each side. The bone tamps are inflated until they expand to the required height, then removed. The spaces that were created by the bone tamps are then filled with orthopedic cement. This is the same cement that has been used for many years to cement artificial joint binding fractures.
The orthopedic cement hardens quickly and provides stability and strength to the vertebra. This process restores vertebra height and relieves pain. This process can be described as “placing a cast on the inside of the bone.”
What Are the Side Effects?
The complication rate for kyphoplasty procedures is extremely low. However, just as with any other surgical procedure, there is the potential to experience serious adverse events, some of which could be fatal. The potential side effects include heart attack, stroke, cardiac arrest (this is when the heart stops beating), and embolism (this is when blood, cement, or fat migrate to the patient’s lungs or heart).
Is Kyphoplasty Painful?
No, it is not painful. An orthopedic doctor will have the patient lay on their stomach for the procedure and will administer a local or general anesthesia, so the patient won’t feel any pain.
How Long Does It Take to Recover?
Generally, people resume most normal activities almost immediately. However, for a full recovery, it could take up to three months to fully heal. The recovery process includes pain medication and activity modification.
Complications related to kyphoplasty are rare and most statistics show that it has a 96% success rate.
Who Is Not a Candidate for Kyphoplasty?
Patients who can function and whose condition is improving through the use of conservative management. If the conservative management is not successful after four to six weeks, and the patient is at risk of being bedridden, then kyphoplasty should be considered.
Kyphoplasty is a safe and highly effective treatment for the elderly experiencing symptomatic compression fractures.
Does Kyphoplasty Restore Height?
Yes, it is a minimally invasive procedure that is designed to restore a patient’s height and stabilize any painful vertebral compression fractures (VCFs).
If you need an orthopedic surgeon in the Tampa Bay area, please Contact Full Circle Orthopedics today. The Florida Knee & Orthopedic Centers were established in 1983 and have a national reputation for excellence. We offer two locations, one in Clearwater, Florida, and one in Palm Harbor, Florida.
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