In medicine, when you combine kypho (meaning bent or humped) and plasty (meaning to repair), you end up with a minimally invasive procedure (kyphoplasty) that’s designed to restore spinal strength and integrity and relieve the pain caused by a spinal compression fracture.
The Pain Institute of Southern Arizona has seven locations conveniently located throughout Tucson, Green Valley, Safford, and Benson, Arizona. We are proud of our stellar reputation for delivering high quality, state-of-the-art treatments and procedures that help patients find relief from their pain and return to an enjoyable and fulfilling quality of life.
That mission makes our team of specialists proponents of kyphoplasty. Learn why our experts may recommend this often life-changing procedure.
Why would I need a kyphoplasty?
Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that your Pain Institute specialist might recommend for repairing a spinal compression fracture. This type of fracture occurs when your spinal column’s bony tissue becomes so fragile that it simply collapses.
Compression fractures typically involve the vertebrae of the middle back (thoracic spine), which play a crucial role in supporting your body as you stand, walk, sit, etc. The most common type of compression fracture causes the front part of the vertebrae to collapse. This results in pain, decreased mobility, and an excessive kyphotic curve in the upper back, leading to a rounded or stooped appearance.
What causes spinal compression fractures?
The condition may weaken the vertebral structure following trauma or different types of bone cancer. Most often, however, spinal compression fractures are linked to osteoporosis. This causes the bone to lose its density and strength over time. Advanced osteoporosis can weaken bones enough that sometimes simply twisting to the side or bending over at the waist can cause a compression fracture.
How does kyphoplasty help?
Your Pain Institute specialist inserts a miniature balloon into the affected vertebra via a small hollow tube/needle. As the balloon is carefully inflated, the targeted vertebra returns to its normal height. This process is followed closely by advanced X-ray imaging that gives your provider a real-time view of the treatment area.
Your provider then deflates and removes the balloon before injecting a type of quick-setting bone cement into the space. As the cement dries, it supports and strengthens the vertebra, which relieves your pain and helps restore mobility.
Who is a good candidate for kyphoplasty?
The amount of pain you’re experiencing and its effect on your mobility and overall quality of life may guide your specialist’s recommendation regarding kyphoplasty. We also consider whether it’s an old or new compression fracture since kyphoplasty must be performed before the bone has begun to heal, typically within three months of the fracture.