Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that is performed to restore height in a damaged vertebra and stabilize the bone. It is most commonly used to treat spinal fractures caused by chemotherapy, osteoporosis (thinning of the bones) or trauma, and is typically more successful at relieving pain and restoring motion if performed within two months of the fracture. Spinal fractures can cause severe pain and deformities if left untreated, and kyphoplasty may be recommended if more conservative methods such as therapy and/or medications have been unsuccessful at resolving symptoms.
Kyphoplasty specifically involves creating space within the vertebra and injecting a specially formulated cement into the bone through a balloon-like device.
During this minimally invasive procedure, the surgeon makes a very small incision in the back while the patient is under general anesthesia and inserts a narrow tube to reach the fractured area.
Using a special X-ray for guidance, the surgeon then inserts a tiny balloon and inflates it to elevate the fracture back into the correct position before filling the cavity that is created with a cement-like substance for stability. The incision is closed after the instruments are removed, and the procedure generally takes less than an hour.
Recovery and Physical Therapy
Kyphoplasty is usually an outpatient procedure, and most patients are discharged the same day as surgery or the next day, depending upon the number of vertebrae treated. Some patients experience immediate pain relief and there is usually minimal pain at the incision site.
Because the procedure is minimally invasive, there are numerous post-operative benefits when compared to open surgery: a quicker recovery time, less pain, a lower risk of infection and increased post-operative mobility. Walking is encouraged the same day of surgery, and normal activities can generally be resumed within a few days. Patients are encouraged to avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activity for at least six weeks following surgery.
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