Kyphoplasty treats compression fractures of the spine
Compression fractures of the spine are one of the causes of severe back pain in the elderly and people with osteoporosis. Older women are particularly susceptible due to their high incidence of osteoporosis. A minor fall or carrying boxes can be enough to cause a compression fracture when bones are weakened.
Compression Fracture Symptoms
When a compression fracture occurs, the pain is typically severe. In many cases, it requires narcotic medicine for a significant period of time. Patients may be stuck in bed or on the couch, reliant on family and friends to help them out with their daily activities. Left to heal by themselves, it can take weeks or months for patients to regain their independence. Some people may never return to normal.
Vertebral Augmentation of Compression Fractures
Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are two similar minimally invasive procedures that can provide rapid pain relief and improvement of function. These procedures are performed by an interventional radiologist (IR) or other specialists that treat spine disease. These procedures are in an office on an outpatient basis. A patient will undergo an x-ray procedure where a needle is directed into the compression fracture while the patient is sedated. Once in place, a small amount of medical-grade cement-like material is infused into the fracture to fixate it. In kyphoplasty, there is an extra step where a small balloon is inflated to create a cavity for the cement and restore some of the lost vertebral height. This cement stabilizes movement of the fractured level and reduces the associated pain. About 85% of patients have rapid improvement of their pain, mobility and function. Some people experience this immediately following the procedure.
In addition to the fast and effective relief compared to the wait-and-see approach, kyphoplasty has the added benefit of height restoration. Studies show that restoring as much of the natural curvature of the spine as possible is helpful in reducing pockets of lung collapse and the development of pneumonia.
Contact Summit Interventional Radiology to learn more about vertebral augmentation and Kyphoplasty options as treatment.