What is kyphoplasty?
Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive surgical procedure for treating spinal fractures caused by osteoporosis. The goals of the procedure are to stop the pain caused by the bone fracture, to stabilize the bone, and to restore some or all of the vertebral body height lost due to the compression fracture.
When is kyphoplasty performed?
The decision to proceed with kyphoplasty intervention is determined by the individual patient and your Hurley surgeon on a case-by-case basis. As a general rule, the earlier kyphoplasty is performed, the better are the chances of achieving significant correction of spinal alignment. Therefore, the earlier compression fractures are diagnosed, the more effective kyphoplasty intervention would be, once it is indicated.
Factors influencing early intervention with kyphoplasty include the following:
- Severe pain that is poorly controlled with pain medication
- Severe functional limitations such as inability to stand or walk
- Fractures with greater loss of height and angular deformity
- Fractures with progressive collapse
- Fractures located at the thoraco-lumbar junction
- Multiple fractures (including a new fracture in a patient with old healed compression fractures)
What happens during kyphoplasty?
During kyphoplasty, a small incision is made in the back through which the doctor places a narrow tube. Using fluoroscopy to guide it to the correct position, the tube creates a path through the back into the fractured area through the pedicle of the involved vertebrae.
Using x-ray images, the doctor inserts a special balloon through the tube and into the vertebrae, then gently and carefully inflates it. As the balloon inflates, it elevates the fracture, returning the pieces to a more normal position. It also compacts the soft inner bone to create a cavity inside the vertebrae.
The balloon is removed and the doctor uses specially designed instruments under low pressure to fill the cavity with a cement-like material called polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA). After being injected, the material hardens quickly, stabilizing the bone.