Balloon kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive surgical procedure best performed by a neurosurgeon for stabilizing spinal fractures that may reduce back pain, correct angular vertebral deformity and restore vertebral body height.
Kyphoplasty is performed through a hollow needle that is passed through the skin of your back into the fractured vertebra. A balloon is first inserted and inflated to expand the compressed vertebra to its normal height before filling the space with bone cement. The procedures are repeated for each affected vertebra. The cement-strengthened vertebra allows you to stand straight, reduces your pain, and prevents further fractures. Without treatment, the fractures will eventually heal, but in a collapsed position. The benefit of kyphoplasty is that your vertebra is returned to normal position before the bone hardens. Patients who’ve had kyphoplasty report significantly less pain after treatment. The procedure usually takes an hour and patients can be discharged the same day depending on the patient’s overall health status. Pain improvement is seen quickly.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation cites osteoporosis as a major public health threat affecting 44 million Americans, or 55 percent of people 50 years of age and older. Osteoporosis causes 1.5 million fractures annually, with more than 700,000 of these fractures occurring in the spine.
Spinal fractures can also be caused by cancer, the most common being multiple myeloma, breast, lung and prostate. According to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, 55-70% of Multiple Myeloma patients already have VCFs at the time of diagnosis and 15-30% develop new VCFs annually.
The change in the shape of the vertebral body following fracture alters the body’s center of gravity. Multiple spinal fractures can affect the alignment of the entire spine. Over time, this alteration in spinal configuration may lead to reduction of motion and strength and well as visible spinal deformity known as kyphosis or “dowager’s hump.”
Balloon kyphoplasty typically takes about one hour per fracture treated. It can be performed on an inpatient or outpatient basis and under local or general anesthesia (both determinations are based on medical necessity). Your physician will discuss with you which options are appropriate for you.quickly.
Dr. Ram R. Vasudevan, MD, FAANS
Austin NeuroSpine PLLC
5300 Bee Cave Road, Building 1,
Suite 220 Austin, TX 78746
Phone: (512) 640-0010
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