Treating Spinal Fractures with Kyphoplasty

Jaffe Sports Medicine is pleased to offer a minimally invasive procedure for our patients who experience severe back pain or spinal deformities. Pain and deformities can occur due to a number of possible diagnoses, including cancer or osteoporosis. With imaging and further testing, we can begin to evaluate your condition and determine if you are a possible candidate for kyphoplasty.

Diagnosis and Surgical Factors

Before learning more about kyphoplasty, it is important to know what conditions and diagnoses are associated with this type of surgery. Most common are diagnoses such as osteoporosis and spinal tumors associated with certain cancers.

Osteoporosis is the loss of calcium from bones, which results in weakened bone structures throughout the body. In some patients, osteoporosis increases the risk of fractures of the vertebra.

When the vertebral body is fractured, there will be a noticeable collapse occurring at the Thoracic Spine, thus producing a wedge; more familiarly known as a “hunch-back” appearance. What is happening here is the vertebral body is shortened in height and spinal alignment is then shifted.

There are additional serious health problems that are associated with this type of curvature, including chronic and severe pain, reduced mobility, and reduced lung capacity. Osteo fractures such as this make it five times more likely further fractures will occur.

Though osteoporosis is the most common cause in fractured vertebral bodies, cancer with associated spinal tumors can also cause fractures that lead to the need for corrective measures.

As the tumor(s) grow, the fractures occur. The tumor will of course require treatment and/or removal, however, Kyphoplasty is a viable option for treating the fracture and preventing further injury to the vertebral body.

Understanding the Kyphoplasty procedure and the benefits.

Kyphoplasty, also known as vertebral augmentation, is a minimally invasive surgical procedure for treating osteoporosis fractures. As discussed, these fractures may occur because of conditions such as osteoporosis or trauma.

Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that includes injecting acrylic bone cement into the spinal fracture through a hole in the skin. The cement-like materials are injected directly into the fractured bone with a needle or thin tube. The cement works to stabilize the fracture, which provides immediate pain relief in many cases.

To be more specific, the needle or thin tube, once inserted into the damaged vertebrae, is tipped with a balloon. The balloon is inflated to create a cavity in which bone cement will be injected.

The balloon is deflated and removed, and the bone cement is then injected into the cavity. The cement mixture hardens in about 10 minutes. The entire procedure will probably take less than an hour, though it may be longer if more vertebrae are treated. Your doctor will use your X-ray as guidance while performing the procedure to ensure accuracy.

You will be under general anesthesia throughout this minimally invasive procedure.

Afterward, you may experience soreness in the area for a few days, but you will likely be symptom-free and will not need to do physical therapy or rehabilitation. You will spend some time in recovery after the surgery, however, you will likely go home the same day, but will need someone to drive you home. The risks of kyphoplasty are exceptionally low.

Who is a candidate for Kyphoplasty?

To be a candidate for kyphoplasty, your pain must be related to the vertebral fracture, and must not be due to any other problems such as disc herniation, arthritis, or stenosis, which is narrowing of the spinal cord.

We feel the best candidates are generally reserved for people with painful, progressive, and increasing back pain caused by osteoporosis, or pathologic vertebral compression fractures. These candidates will also have a reduced ability to move and function because of the fractures. Limitations can include the inability to drive, perform daily tasks such as household chores and cooking, caring for yourself, or your family members.

Like any surgery, there are associated risks, such as infection, bleeding, increased back pain, tingling, numbness or weakness because of nerve damage, allergic reactions to the chemicals used with X Rays to help guide the doctor, cement leaking out of position.

Pre and Post Operative Procedures 

Before the day of your surgery, your physician will perform an exam and will obtain current imaging of the spinal column. You will discuss any recent illnesses and talk about any allergies you may have.

Do not forget to bring with you a list of the medications you are currently taking and discuss with your doctor in the weeks before surgery if you are taking blood thinners or aspirin for a directive, as you will need to stop taking these before the surgery. Do not eat or drink anything up to 8 hours before surgery.

Following the successful kyphoplasty procedure, you can return home to normal activities. Please try to avoid heavy lifting for up to six weeks following the surgery. As previously mentioned, any pain caused by the procedure itself should be gone within two to three days.

Kyphoplasty helps correct bone deformities and relieves pain that comes with spinal compression fractures. kyphoplasty can restore damaged vertebrae and may also relieve pain by injecting a special cement into your vertebrae to provide our patients with relief.

Call us today to make an appointment and let’s begin your evaluation to resolve your back pain.