Also called vertebral augmentation, kyphoplasty is a minimally-invasive procedure used to treat vertebral compression fractures, which are tiny fractures that develop in the bones of the spine, often as a result of osteoporosis or other metabolic or degenerative diseases. Osteoporosis causes the bones to become brittle and weak, and a vertebral fracture can cause the bone to change shape, compressing it as a result of pressure from neighboring bones. Vertebral fractures can cause significant pain, often impinging on nerves where they exit the spinal column. Kyphoplasty is the “gold standard” for treating compression fractures in the spine, stabilizing them and restoring them to their normal shape to relieve painful symptoms.
Kyphoplasty is performed using local anesthetics and sedation. The procedure uses a hollow needle to insert a tiny balloon into the bone that's been fractured. Ultrasound or X-ray imaging is used to ensure the proper placement of the balloon. When expanded, the balloon helps to gently reshape the bone and restore it to its normal position. Next, the balloon is deflated and removed and a medical-grade cement is injected into the bone to stabilize it and provide strength and structure. Once the cavity has been filled, the incision site is closed and a special bandage is applied. The entire procedure takes about 45 minutes to perform, and it can be performed using minimally-invasive techniques that rely on very small incisions for less tissue damage and faster recovery and healing. Most patients report pain relief shortly after the procedure, and patients can resume many of their normal activities the following day. Strenuous activities will need to be avoided for about six weeks.
Yes, kyphoplasty is safe and approved by the FDA. Prior to the introduction of kyphoplasty, medical-grade cement was injected in a procedure called a vertebroplasty without the use of a balloon. The introduction of kyphoplasty improves results by reshaping and repositioning the bone for superior pain relief and greater stability in the spine. Kyphoplasty is associated with a success rate of more than 90 percent.
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