With conditions of the spine, many treatment options are available. One such treatment option is vertebral augmentation. During this type of procedure, the doctor adds bone cement to the spine in order to improve function, restore vertebral height, and decrease pain. One particular type of vertebral augmentation is kyphoplasty.
If you would like to know more about kyphoplasty, here are the answers for four frequently asked questions about this relatively new kind of procedure.
1. What Is Kyphoplasty?
Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure for the spine. Two steps happen during kyphoplasty. During the first step, the surgeon inserts a balloon device into compacted vertebrae. This compaction occurs when the front part of the vertebrae collapses, causing it to shorten and become irregularly shaped. The balloon device restores the shape of the vertebrae and brings it back to its former height.
The second step of the process involves taking the balloon device out and replacing it with a material that resembles cement. The hardened material stabilizes the vertebrae in the spine. The goal of kyphoplasty is to return the vertebrae to normal, which in turn helps to realign the spine.
2. What Spinal Condition Does Kyphoplasty Treat?
Kyphoplasty treats fractures of the spine, also known as vertebral compression fractures. A vertebral compression fracture can cause a person to have a humped back, which is a disorder called kyphosis. This particular type of fracture is usually from osteoporosis, a disease in which bone density becomes reduced.
Osteoporosis is especially common for women going through menopause. According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, 25% of all postmenopausal women, who have osteoporosis, get vertebral compression fractures. The chances for getting vertebral compression fractures increase as women age.
In fact, 40% of women over the age of 80 get vertebral compression fractures. Besides osteoporosis, other causes of vertebral compression fractures include metastasis, which happens when cancer cells spread to the vertebrae in the spine.
Vertebral compression fractures can also occur because of an accident, fall, or any other kind of event that puts immense amounts of pressure on the spine.
3. What Is Recovery Like Following Kyphoplasty?
Following kyphoplasty, the patient usually experiences some soreness in the back. This soreness occurs where the needle went into the back. The discomfort should subside within a couple of days. Placing an ice pack on the back where the needle went through can help ease the pain. An ice pack can be used up to 20 minutes at a time every couple of hours.
Many people who undergo kyphoplasty resume their normal activities within a day. However, most experts recommend for those who have this procedure to avoid lifting anything that causes strain. This includes anything from a milk jug to a child. This lifting restriction should be in place the first day after the procedure.
In order to recover more quickly, patients who have had kyphoplasty should rest and get plenty of sleep whenever they feel tired. The patient will also need to take proper care of their incision, which helps to protect it from infection.
4. Who Can I Contact for More Information About Kyphoplasty?
If you are someone who has suffered a vertebral compression fracture, or you have osteoporosis or another condition that puts you at risk of getting one, contact us at Southwest Florida Neurosurgical & Rehab Associates. We will give you more information about kyphoplasty and how this procedure can be of benefit to you. We look forward to speaking with you, discussing your specific situation, and answering any of your questions or concerns about this procedure.