This minimally-invasive procedure repairs a vertebral compression fracture. It helps restore the spine’s natural shape. Some patients experience rapid pain relief after the procedure.
What is a Vertebral Spinal Compression Fracture?
The spine is made up of 33 bones called vertebrae. When one of these bones breaks it is a compression fracture. These fractures happen most often to bones that have weakened over time and can no longer bear weight. Once pushed past its breaking point, the bone collapses.
Compression fractures can happen as a result of an accident, like a car crash. But they can also occur as a result of a long decline in bone health. Vertebrae that have been weakened over time by osteoporosis or cancer (such as multiple myeloma and lymphoma) are especially vulnerable to fracture.
More than 700,000 compression fractures occur in the U.S. each year. Sometimes, a compression fracture is misdiagnosed as soft tissue pain. As a result, approximately two thirds of compression fractures are undiagnosed and go untreated every year.
Compression Fracture Symptoms
- Debilitating back pain
- Increased pain while standing or walking
- Decrease in pain while lying on the back
- Limited mobility
- Height loss over time
- Deformity and disability over time
- Loss of balance and increased risk of falling
- Reduced lung function
- Greater risk of future fracture
- Disturbed sleep
- Difficulty completing routine activities
Kyphoplasty Procedure Goals
- Stabilize the vertebrae
- Restore the bone to its normal height
- Reduce pain from the fracture
Our spine surgeon will start by making a small, half-inch incision over the fractured area. Using the guidance of X-ray, the surgeon will insert a thin tube through the connective tissue into the side of the vertebra.
A balloon is then placed through the tube and into the vertebra. The balloon is inflated inside the vertebra to create an open space and restore height to the collapsed bone. The balloon is then deflated and removed, leaving the new vertebra cavity behind. Bone cement is then injected into the cavity. The cement strengthens the vertebrae which may allow you to stand straighter, reducing pain. Depending on the severity of the fracture, more than one balloon may be used.
Post-Operative Care Stabilization and Recovery
Once the procedure has been completed and the fracture has been stabilized, the needle is removed, and the small opening is closed. You may need to lie on the table for a few minutes, allowing the cement to harden. Stitches and bandages are not typically necessary.
The entire procedure usually takes less than one hour if only one vertebra is being treated. Recovery time is minimal, and most patients can walk out the door the same day. Full recovery may take up to 48 hours.