Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure for the treatment of painful vertebral compression fractures (VCF), which are fractures involving the vertebral bodies that make up the spinal column.
When a vertebral body fractures, the usual rectangular shape of the bone becomes compressed, causing pain. These compression fractures may involve the collapse of one or more vertebrae in the spine and are a common result of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease that results in a loss of normal bone density, mass and strength, leading to a condition in which bones become increasingly porous, and vulnerable to breaking easily. Vertebrae may also become weakened by cancer.
Typically, kyphoplasty is recommended after less invasive treatments, such as bed rest, a back brace or pain medication, have been ineffective. Kyphoplasty can be performed immediately in patients with problematic pain requiring hospitalization or for conditions that limit bed rest and pain medications.
Kyphoplasty should be completed within eight weeks of the acute fracture for the highest probability of successful treatment.
During kyphoplasty, a balloon is first inserted into the fractured bone through the hollow needle to create a cavity or space. The cement is injected into the cavity once the balloon is removed.
Kyphoplasty can increase a patient's functional abilities and allow return to the previous level of activity without any form of physical therapy or rehabilitation. The procedure is usually successful at alleviating the pain caused by a vertebral compression fracture; many patients feel significant relief almost immediately or within a few days. Many patients become symptom-free. Following kyphoplasty, about 75 percent of patients regain lost mobility and become more active, which helps combat osteoporosis. Increased activity builds more muscle strength, further encouraging mobility.