What is Kyphoplasty?
Kyphoplasty is a specialized type of pain management used to treat painful compression fractures in the spine. These fractures may have been caused by accidents, osteoporosis, or as the result of diseases such as cancer. Kyphoplasty is often recommended for patients who experience severe or disabling pain that has not responded to bed rest, physical therapy, or pain medications for over two months. Kyphoplasty can also be used to restore vertebral body height lost due to osteoporosis or compression fracture.
About the Procedure
The procedure is performed in a hospital or outpatient setting by an interventional radiologist, either under moderate sedation or under a general anesthetic (deep sedation). The patient lies face down on a table while the doctor inserts a needle directly into the bone of each compressed vertebra, using X-ray fluoroscopy to place it precisely. When the needle is positioned properly, a tiny balloon is passed through the needle into the bone, and then inflated to restore the original height of the collapsed or compressed vertebra. Finally, cement is injected through the needle into the enlarged space to make sure it does not collapse again.
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What To Expect
The procedure can take up to an hour, depending on the number of fractures present. However, in cases of extensive osteoporosis or injury, multiple treatment sessions will be likely. You will lie on your stomach, your blood pressure and oxygen levels will be monitored while you are sedated. A local anesthesia will be used to numb the areas where the needle is inserted. The interventional radiologist will use X-ray fluoroscopy during the procedure to precisely place the needle in each vertebra being worked on, and to measure its proper height once it has been expanded by the balloon.
After the procedure you will rest while your progress and your vital signs are carefully monitored. You will be monitored for a few hours, then released the same day.
Pain relief is immediate in some patients, whereas in others it is reported within 2 days. After resting for a couple of days you can resume your normal activities, but you should avoid strenuous exertion and especially any heavy lifting for at least six weeks.