How Kyphoplasty Can Correct Spinal Compression

May 25, 2017

What Is Kyphoplasty?

Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive medical procedure to treat osteoporosis. It involves inserting a balloon in a fractured spinal vertebrae and filling the space with bone cement. The procedure usually targets the thoracic region of the spine in the T1 through T12 vertebrae. It can also be used in the lumbar region in L1 through L5. Kyphoplasty reduces pain, stabilizes the vertebrae and restores the vertebrae to their normal height.

Why Osteoporosis Causes Spinal Compression

Osteoporosis is a disease that involves bones becoming fragile. As people age, their bones lose calcium and other minerals. The vertebrae then fracture. The spine shortens, causing a hump to form in the back. The condition is known as kyphosis.

Fractures caused by weakening of the vertebrae are called compression fractures. They can take place suddenly. Sometimes the fractures cause no initial problems. Later, the fractures can cause pain slowly that gets worse with walking. Over time, the fractures often lead to severe back pain. The pain can strike in the middle or lower spine, on the sides of the body or in front of the spine.

The pain caused by compression fractures is acute. It can take weeks or months to ease. The fractures can cause a person to lose as much as six inches over time. The pain can result in tingling, numbness, difficulty walking, and loss of function in the bowels and bladder.

How Kyphoplasty Fixes Spinal Compression

The agent to fix the problem is bone cement, also known as polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA). PMMA hardens soon after it is placed in the body, yet it does not stick to the bones. It has no adhesive properties. Instead, it acts as a space-filler. It causes the irregular bone surfaces that remain in the vertebrae to lock close together.

A kyphoplasty procedure involves an anesthesiologist and a doctor. The doctor inserts the needle into the bone and inflates the balloon. The doctor injects bone cement into the balloon, using X-rays to check location, then withdraws the needle. Kyphoplasty usually takes less than an hour for one vertebrae. It can take longer to treat more than one vertebrae. After a kyphoplasty procedure, a patient is usually walking normally. He or she is in much less pain than before.

If you are interested in receiving this quality pain treatment, talk to one of our experienced physicians about the risks and benefits of kyphoplasty. The doctors at Southside Pain Specialists are happy to help you learn how to restore your height, health and ability to walk.