What does a kyphoplasty help treat?
The goals of a kyphoplasty surgical procedure are designed to stop the pain caused by a spinal fracture, to stabilize the bone, and to restore some or all of the lost vertebral body height due to the compression fracture.
Like vertebroplasty, kyphoplasty injects special cement into your vertebrae — with the additional step of creating space for the treatment with a balloon-like device. Kyphoplasty can restore a damaged vertebra’s height and may also relieve pain.
As with vertebroplasty, the effectiveness of kyphoplasty is under debate in the medical community — you should discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
Doctors might recommend kyphoplasty for cancer-damaged vertebrae or certain spinal fractures. In most cases, a weakening of the bones (osteoporosis) has caused the vertebrae to compress or collapse, causing pain or a hunched posture.
Performing Kyphoplasty Surgery
- During kyphoplasty surgery, a small incision is made in the back through which the doctor places a narrow tube. Using fluoroscopy to guide it to the correct position, the tube creates a path through the back into the fractured area through the pedicle of the involved vertebrae.
- Using X-ray images, the doctor inserts a special balloon through the tube and into the vertebrae, then gently and carefully inflates it. As the balloon inflates, it elevates the fracture, returning the pieces to a more normal position. It also compacts the soft inner bone to create a cavity inside the vertebrae.
- The balloon is removed and the doctor uses specially designed instruments under low pressure to fill the cavity with a cement-like material called polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA). After being injected, the pasty material hardens quickly, stabilizing the bone.