Vertebral fractures typically occur as a result of significant trauma to the area, so they are not uncommon in actions like automobile accidents, falls and athletic activity. Similar to how they can develop for a variety of reasons, vertebral fractures can also be addressed in a couple of different manners. One such way is with a kyphoplasty procedure. In today’s blog, we talk about the procedure and how a skilled neurosurgeon would perform one.
A kyphoplasty is very similar to a vertebroplasty operation in that they both involve the injection of bone cement into a fracture area to help stabilize the site and provide for ample healing. However, with a kyphoplasty, the surgeon also works to correct a spinal curvature disorder that may have manifested as a result of the fracture. This will involve inserting and inflating a small balloon in the vertebral comparment to create more space for the bone cement, which can then form in such a way to change curvature issues.
The most common reason why a neurosurgeon may perform a kyphoplasty is due to what’s known as a vertebral compression fracture. These are typically low-impact injuries that occur in older populations, oftentimes exacerbated by osteoporosis.
During the procedure, the patient will be positioned on their stomach and given general anesthesia. Once ready, the surgeon will insert a needle into the skin and use real time x-ray imaging to guide the needle into the correct location. A small device called a balloon tamp will then be inserted through the needle and into the fractured vertebral compartment.
Once in place, the surgeon will inflate the balloon to help restore the lost height in the vertebral space. The surgeon then carefully removes the balloon, but the cavity it created will remain. Bone cement is injected into this cavity to prevent the area from collapsing when stress is later placed on the area. This bone cement hardens and rapidly helps to stabilize the spine, meaning the procedure is often performed on an outpatient basis with the patient leaving the clinic on the same day.
Most people can go back to non-strenuous daily activities shortly after surgery, but your surgeon may put some restrictions on certain physical activities. Some patients experience mild pain at the spinal injection site, but that is usually temporary. As for benefits, many patients have an increased quality of life, more mobility, decreased daily pain and a reduced need to rely on painkillers to get through their day. Considering how low complication rate is for the procedure, it’s no wonder why it is such a popular procedure for correcting spinal fractures.
For more information about the procedure, or to talk to a specialist about your spine pain, reach out to Dr. Chang and his talented team today.