What are the indications for a kyphoplasty?
A kyphoplasty is a procedure whereby cement is injected into a fractured vertebral body to relieve severe pain associated with a compression fracture. A compression fracture that causes severe pain and does not respond to conservative options such as medications, bracing and physical therapy is a good candidate for kyphoplasty.
How is kyphoplasty performed?
A kyphoplasty procedure can be done either using sedation or under general anesthesia. The fractured vertebra is visualized using a fluoroscopy machine which provides x-ray image of the bones. Two small incisions measuring less than a half an inch are made and two specialized cannula (injection guides) are placed into the fractured vertebra. Two balloon devices are then inserted into the fractured bone and inflated creating a cavity in the bone. The balloons are then removed and a special cement known as methylmethacrylate is injected in small amounts into the fractured bone using x-ray guidance. The cement fills the cavity in the vertebra and hardens in several minutes. The cement acts to stabilize the vertebra and reduce pain allowing patients to be more active with less pain. The procedure usually takes 30-45 minutes, slightly longer if more than one compression fracture is treated. This is not an open spine procedure so there is no disruption of the spine tissues including the muscles, ligaments, and bones therefore recovery is fairly quick from the surgery within several days.
What is the recovery from a kyphoplasty procedure?
The hospital stay is usually an overnight stay. This is not an open spine procedure so there is no disruption of the spine tissues including the muscles, ligaments, and bones and therefore recovery is fairly quick. The pain from the surgery may be nonexistent or there may be some localized back discomfort which can last up to several weeks. There is usually a significant improvement in the sharp, stabbing pain with movement that was caused by the compression fracture. Activity recommended for the first 2 weeks after surgery is short walks and mainly rest. Physical therapy guidance is recommended from 2 weeks after the procedure for 6-8 weeks.