If you are experiencing severe back pain and limited mobility, you may be suffering from a spinal compression fracture. Expert spinal orthopedists are trained in a minimally invasive surgical procedure called kyphoplasty that specifically addresses these small fractures. EmergeOrtho—Blue Ridge Region’s board-certified and fellowship-trained back and spine specialists have helped hundreds of qualified patients get relief from their back pain with Kyphoplasty. You can learn more about the surgery from this video of Dr. Michael Goebel, an EmergeOrtho spine surgeon.
Spinal Compression Fractures: The Basics
Compression fractures are small breaks or cracks in the vertebrae—the bones that make up your spine. The fractures can cause the spine to weaken and collapse. Over time, these fractures can have a number of adverse effects on your movement, flexibility, and appearance.
Common symptoms of a spinal compression fracture include:
- Sudden and chronic back pain
- Difficulty twisting or bending over
- Hunched-over appearance
- Loss of height as the vertebrae compress
- Tingling and numbness in the back caused by pinched nerves
- Difficulty walking
After learning of your specific symptoms, our spine doctors use advanced diagnostic tools such as digital X-rays and CT scans to confirm a fracture, determine its location, and learn the extent of the damage.
What Is Kyphoplasty?
Kyphoplasty surgery, also referred to as balloon kyphoplasty, is a minimally invasive surgical procedure used specifically to treat painful spinal fractures. The goal of kyphoplasty is to relieve pain, stabilize the fractured vertebra, and restore bone height, all in an effort to improve overall mobility and quality of life.
What Conditions Does Kyphoplasty Treat?
The most common causes of spinal compression fractures treated with kyphoplasty include:
A condition that weakens bones, making them more susceptible to fractures, particularly in the spine.
Abnormal growths in the spine that can lead to vertebral fractures.
Fractures caused by accidents or falls that result in compression of the vertebrae.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Kyphoplasty?
Our spine doctors conduct a thorough evaluation to determine if kyphoplasty is the right treatment for you. The surgery may be a good option for patients who have:
- Severe pain that does not improve with conservative treatments such as rest, pain medications, and physical therapy
- A confirmed vertebral compression fracture through imaging tests like X-rays or MRI scans
- Recently suffered a fracture (typically within 2-3 months), as kyphoplasty tends to be more effective during the acute phase of the fracture
- Adequate bone density for the procedure to be successful
The Day of the Surgery
Kyphoplasty is generally an outpatient procedure, meaning you will be able to return home on the same day as the surgery. On the day of the procedure, you will be required to fast for a few hours before the surgery. The procedure is generally performed under local or general anesthesia, depending on your specific case and your doctor’s recommendations. Here is what the surgeon will do:
Needle insertion: The surgeon creates a small incision near the fractured area and inserts the needle through the skin and into the targeted vertebra.
Balloon inflation: A deflated balloon is then passed through the needle into the fractured vertebra and gently inflated to create a cavity.
Cement injection: Once the cavity is created, the balloon is deflated and removed, leaving behind a space that is filled with medical-grade bone cement. This cement helps stabilize the vertebra and provides support.
Recovery and Post-Operative Care
Following the kyphoplasty procedure, you will be monitored for a short time in the recovery area before being allowed to go home. Some patients may experience mild soreness at the incision site, but this is normal and should subside within a few days. Generally, the minimally invasive nature of the procedure allows for a quicker recovery compared to traditional open surgeries.
To ensure a smooth and timely recovery, it is essential to follow the personalized set of instructions provided by your doctor, which may include:
- Limited strenuous activities for a certain period
- Prescribed medications to manage pain and prevent infection
- Physical therapy to help strengthen the back and improve mobility
At EmergeOrtho—Blue Ridge Region, we are committed to providing our spine patients with not only the most effective, advanced treatments but also the most attentive, personalized care. Our mission is to help our patients return to their active lives free of pain, with increased mobility and strength. Kyphoplasty is just one of the many nonsurgical and surgical treatments we offer our patients with back pain. Request an appointment here and Emerge Stronger, Healthier, and Better with the help of our spinal experts.