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What is a Kyphoplasty?

A kyphoplasty is a form of surgical correction that can be used to treat adult or degenerative kyphosis.

Contrary to popular belief, your bones are dynamic. This means that even after you reach skeletal maturity, your spine continues to remodel itself. To keep your bones healthy, your body will break down and reabsorb “unfit” bone. Your body then replaces this second-rate bone with stronger, healthier bone.

However, if bone loss starts to outpace bone regrowth, then osteoporosis can occur. As the name suggests, osteoporosis means “porous bones.” Although all bones are porous to a certain degree, osteoporosis can make the vertebrae look like swiss cheese.

Weakened or holey bones crack easily under pressure. If you bump into an object, or move the wrong way, then your spine can fracture. In particular, these types of spinal fractures are known as vertebral compression fractures. They can cause the vertebrae to collapse on the front side, creating a wedged-shape.

If this happens enough times, then your spine will become much taller on the back side than the front. Because your vertebrae stack up on one another, this will cause your thoracic spine to arch forward. In this case, this rounded, stooped, or hunched-over posture is known as degenerative kyphosis. The degenerative part refers to the fact that “bone degeneration” led to this condition.

Similar to creating an internal cast, a kyphoplasty restores the height of your vertebra as it heals. Known to reverse kyphosis, this process will help you find long-term pain relief.

How is a Kyphoplasty Performed?

If you need a kyphoplasty, then your doctor may or may not choose to use general anesthesia. Because this procedure only requires the use of a very small incision, your doctor may use local anesthetics instead.

With the target area numbed, your doctor will make a tiny incision on your back (smaller than a half inch in length). This incision allows your doctor to insert a flexible scope into your back. Moreover, using an X-ray technique known as fluoroscopy will enable your doctor to perform this procedure free of error.

Next, your doctor will insert a 3-mm needle into the fractured vertebra through the side of the vertebral body. The needle contains a balloon that your doctor will then inflate. As the balloon expands, it restores the height of the collapsed vertebra. This step is crucial, because it relieves pressure on the sunken vertebra. Although highly similar in nature, the vertebroplasty neglects to follow this one step. Nevertheless, low stress on the spine ensures that the bone cement used during the next phase of this procedure will not spurt out under pressure.

After decreasing the pressure, your doctor will deflate and remove the balloon. A second needle will deliver a cement mixture, known as PMMA, into the vertebra. With the PMMA injected, all that remains is drying time. After the cement hardens, your doctor will apply bandages to the puncture wounds and suture the incision site.

What are the Advantages of a Kyphoplasty?

If you need to have a balloon kyphoplasty to relieve your pain, then you can expect to reap the many benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery. These gains include:

  • High Accuracy & Success Rates: Because this procedure uses X-ray imaging, your doctor can insert the needles into the correct positions with little room for error. As such, this procedure boasts a 90% rate of success.
  • Low Risk of Complications: Because the balloon lowers the pressure inside of the vertebra, the bone cement is less likely to seep out (known as extravasation). This prevents cement from making contact with your spinal cord and causing nerve pain.
  • Small Incisions: Tiny incisions (< 0.5 inches in length) and small puncture wounds (about 3-mm in diameter) make this procedure safe and easy to recover from. Other benefits that go hand-in-hand with small incisions include less scarring, blood loss, and postoperative pain.
  • Over in a Flash: Your surgeon can complete this entire procedure in only 15 minutes to 1 hour per vertebra.

Do you need a kyphoplasty to repair a shattered vertebra and reverse kyphosis? Contact Dr. Jason Lowenstein, kyphosis expert, today. Dr. Lowenstein is top-rated spine surgeon who specializes in spinal deformity correction. Because you deserve only the best, get the best results in spine care today!

Do I Qualify for a Kyphoplasty?

You may qualify for a kyphoplasty if you have had a spinal fracture that causes kyphosis, or a forward arching of the upper back. Other patients who may benefit from a kyphoplasty include patients who have certain types of spinal tumors or osteoporosis.

Unfortunately, this procedure is not for everyone. You may not qualify for a kyphoplasty if you have:

  • >75% of collapse in the front of your vertebra
  • Pinched Nerves
  • Spine Infections
  • Allergies to PMMA

To find out if you qualify for a kyphoplasty, don’t wait to contact the Lowenstein team today! When it comes to fixing spinal fractures, prompt treatment is key. For award-winning outcomes from a leader in his field, contact a spine surgeon whom you can trust today. Contact Jason Lowenstein, MD!