Kyphoplasty

A Kyphoplasty is a two part procedure that is designed to inflate the damaged part of a partially collapsed vertebra, and follow up that stage if the procedure by filling it in with a cement like substance to heal the bone. The procedures known as kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty are most often used to repair compression fractures of the vertebral bones caused by osteoporosis. Osteoporosis causes bone density loss and a thinning of the bones. This bone density loss can lead to bones, especially weight bearing ones, buckling inwards. Compression fractures of the vertebrae may cause the body of the bones to bend forward, often producing a kyphosis curve of the back, which you generally will see in elderly males and females. While most treatments for osteoporosis, including medications such as Prolia and Evista, are more effective at prevention of compression fractures, Kyphoplasty may be more effective at healing the damage that is already there. Other causes of compression fractures include tumors and trauma to the spine. Both the kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty procedures involve the injection of the cement-like material, though only the kyphoplasty procedure involves the additional step of the insertion of the balloon to inflate the bone back to its original height. The ultimate goal of the kyphoplasty procedure is to restore the original shape/height of the bone, stabilize the bone, and to stop the back pain or neck pain associated with the structural damage caused by the compression fractures and the deterioration of the bone.



Performing Kyphoplasty Surgery: The doctor will first make a small incision only big enough to insert the needle that will inject the cement like material into the bone where the compression fractures have formed, The incision will be about the size of a cocktail straw. The procedure may include a team of doctors that include the surgeon guiding the needle into the bone and an interventional radiologist that creates an image of the area to help the surgeon guide the needle into the correct place. Using fluoroscopy, a hollow tube is guided into the affected area of the bone through the pedicle. Using X-ray images, the surgeon threads a balloon through the hollow tube into the interior of the fractured bone. Once the balloon is on place, the balloon is slowly inflated, gradually elevating the fracture and bone to its original height before its deterioration process began. The inflation of the balloon also compacts the soft inner bone to create a cavity inside the vertebrae to be filled in, in the second stage of this procedure. The balloon is then deflated and withdrawn from the bone and back through the hollow tube. Next, with medical instruments custom designed for this procedure, the enlarged cavity is filled in with a cement-like material called polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA). The injected material is liquid as it fills into the cavity of the bone, but then hardens fast, stabilizing the bone.

Because of the incision involved in this procedure is small, this procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, and the patient will be home the same day, able to resume light activities. The entire procedure takes about an hour. Following the procedure, the patient will remain in the recovery room of the clinic for up to a few hours for post-operation observation.

Next, read on about Kyphoplasty: benefits, risks, and complications.