A kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive spine surgery that is used to treat vertebral compression fractures. The procedure has become increasingly popular because it provides patients who do not respond to nonsurgical treatments with a minimally invasive, rather than open, surgical solution.
The minimally invasive approach benefits patients because:
- Surgical time is decreased
- Less postoperative pain is experienced
- Recovery is faster
Patients who undergo a kyphoplasty may be allowed to return home the day of their surgery. As healing occurs over the course of several weeks, patients can look forward to significant improvements in pain levels, an increased ability to perform day-to-day activities, and little to no visible scarring.
A kyphoplasty is performed under local or general anesthesia that is administered and monitored by a board certified anesthesiologist. Once the patient is comfortably sedated or asleep and can not feel any pain, the procedure is performed through the following steps:
- Two small incisions are made. Two incisions that may be as small as ½ an inch in length are made over the fractured vertebrae.
- The fracture is accessed. The surgeon uses x-ray guidance to insert special surgical instruments known as a cannula and a trocar through the incisions and into the fracture site.
- Lost vertebral height is restored. A tiny balloon is placed into the fractured area and inflated to elevate the vertebral body.
- The fracture is stabilized. Biological bone cement is injected into the fracture and quickly hardens.
After the surgeon is pleased with the procedure, the incisions are closed using special sutures. A sterile dressing and a bandage are placed over the tiny wounds. The patient is brought to recovery where they are monitored by post-surgical medical staff. In many cases, the patient may return home after the effects of surgical anesthesia wear off and pain is controlled.
A kyphoplasty is ideal for patients who are suffering from vertebral compression fractures caused by injuries, bone diseases (most commonly osteoporosis), or impaired bone healing. Pain is the most common and problematic symptom associated with compression fractures. When compression fractures and the pain associated with them do not respond to nonsurgical treatment options such as rest, activity modification, pain/anti-inflammatory medications, and bracing, a kyphoplasty may be recommended. Usually, non-smoking patients who are in good medical condition are candidates for the procedure.