Breaks and fractures in the spinal vertebrae are often caused by weakened bones. In some cases, compression fractures become painful and do not respond to conservative treatment measures.
Balloon Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive surgical procedure to alleviate severe pain and disability resulting from vertebral compression fractures (or VCFs). The goals of the surgery are to restore the fractured vertebra to its pre-fracture height, improve spine functionality, and to restore normal alignment of the spine.
Who can benefit from Balloon Kyphoplasty?
- Patients with osteoporosis: Osteoporosis is a degenerative condition associated with aging that causes loss of bone mass. Osteoporosis leads to weakened and brittle bones that break easily by minimal trauma or by no trauma at all. Osteoporosis is most common in postmenopausal women but can occur in older men or patients on long term steroid therapy as well. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, nearly 700,000 patients suffer from spinal fractures due to osteoporosis in the United States each year.
- Patients with certain types of cancer: Vertebral Compression fractures caused by weakened bones in patients with diagnoses such as Metastatic cancer, kidney disease, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma.
- Patients that are unresponsive to conservative treatments: Severe pain and deformity related to a vertebral fracture that is unrelieved by conservative treatments such as rest, pain medications and/or back bracing.
How is Balloon Kyphoplasty Performed?
Evaluating the source of back pain is critical in determining your options for relief of the pain and the location of where to perform surgery. Your surgeon will review your medical history, perform a physical evaluation, and perform diagnostic tests such as X-rays, an MRI, a CT Scan, and/or a Bone Density Test.
The surgery itself can be done under both general and local anesthesia and is performed with the patient lying face down. The surgeon will first create two small incisions in the fractured bone using a hollowed instrument. A balloon catheter will then be inserted through the incisions and into the body of the affected vertebra. The balloons are inflated with a liquid, under guidance by fluoroscopic x-ray, inside the collapsed vertebra. This creates a cavity and helps restore the vertebra to its pre-fracture height and alignment. The surgeon then deflates and removes the balloons leaving an open cavity. Bone cement is then inserted through the catheters into the open cavity. Once the cement is carefully placed, the catheters are removed and the cement will harden in minutes. Many patients feel immediate pain relief following Balloon Kyphoplasty surgery. Others may take a few days or weeks before showing improvement.
Choosing a spine surgeon is an important decision that can be intimidating and overwhelming. Dr. Anant Kumar specializes in adult degenerative cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine surgery, pediatric spine surgery, scoliosis, and complex spinal deformity. Unlike any other orthopedic surgeon in the country, Dr. Kumar has had additional subspecialty training in Orthopedics through four fellowships, a grueling process requiring an additional five years of training.
Dr. Kumar has the ability to draw upon his extensive training and experience to find the most effective treatment for his patients. If you are looking for a skillful and reliable scoliosis surgeon in Colorado, schedule an appointment at Colorado Spine & Scoliosis today.