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Overview of Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty in Phoenix, Arizona

 

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These are innovative and minimally invasive procedures performed for the treatment of pain caused by compression fracture of the vertebral body in the spine, which is mostly due to osteoporosis, trauma, or metastatic cancer.

Both treatments are performed as outpatient procedures and are relatively similar. In both, a cement material, which is made of polymethylmethacrylate, is injected into the fractured vertebral body through a hollow needle. The difference in kyphoplasty is that the fractured vertebra is expanded first with a inflated balloon and then the cement is injected in the body of the vertebra. On the other hand, in vertebroplasty, the injection of the cement is performed without dilatation.

These procedures provide therapeutic significant benefits by reducing pain and improving stability in fractured vertebrae. In fact, some studies have shown that 95 percent of patients experience complete or partial relief immediately after the procedure.

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These procedures are performed under fluoroscopy guidance and patients may opt for sedation during the procedure.

FAQs on Kyphoplasty

Kyphoplasty is an outpatient spinal surgery used for treatment of severe vertebral compression fractures, which are often related to osteoporosis, bone cancer, and bone tumors. This procedure involves manipulation of the spinal bone that has suffered damage in attempt to restore bone height and stability.

Why is kyphoplasty performed?

A common cause of vertebral compression fracture (VCF) of the spine is osteoporosis, which is thinning of the bones. In addition, spinal fractures occur due to multiple myeloma (bone cancer), as well as injuries that cause broken spine vertebrae. Osteoporotic VCFs are a major healthcare problem. Disability is associated with VCF, as it causes problems with spine alignment and pain. Open surgical treatment is reserved for people with progressive neurological deterioration and deformities. Vertebroplasty will not eliminate deformity, so kyphoplasty is used for many cases.

How is kyphoplasty performed?

After the patient is positioned on the table, the skin is cleaned and prepped. A local anesthetic is used to numb the skin and deeper tissues, which helps with postoperative pain. The surgeon will make a small incision over the spinal column, then insert a procedure needle into the fractured vertebrae. The end of the needle has a balloon device, which is inflated to push the bone back to normal position. The bone cement is injected, and the spine is allowed to straighten.

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How is kyphoplasty different from vertebroplasty?

With vertebroplasty, the procedure needle is inserted into the bone, but no balloon inflation is used. The surgeon simply injects bone cement to stabilize the structure. With kyphoplasty, the procedure involves adjusting bone height before injecting the cement. In addition, both procedures are used to treat painful compression fractures of the pine.

Is anesthesia used during the procedure?

The anesthesia used depends on what the surgeon chooses. Some providers use local anesthesia to numb the region, and a sedative, so the patient is kept comfortable. Other providers prefer general anesthesia, which means you will be asleep during the entire procedure.

What can I expect before the procedure?

Before the kyphoplasty procedure, the surgeon will want to meet with you. You cannot have kyphoplasty if you are pregnant, taking blood thinning agents, or have had a lot of alcohol. Before surgery, you must notify the doctor of all medical conditions you have, as well as which medicines you take. The doctor will review the procedure risks and benefits, and have you sign a consent form.

What can I expect after the procedure?

After kyphoplasty, you will either be discharged home, or you will stay overnight in the hospital. Either way, you should arrange to have someone drive you home. Because of the nature of this procedure, you must rest for 24-48 hours, expect for going to the bathroom. Gradual return to usual activities is recommended, but you should avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activities for six weeks.

Does kyphoplasty work?

According to recent studies, kyphoplasty will significantly increase functional capacity when evaluated using Index Back Function and Oswestry Disability Score. Furthermore, kyphoplasty was found to improve quality of life and pain.

Resources

Taylor RS, Taylor RJ, Fritzell P. Balloon kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty for vertebral compression fractures: a comparative systematic review of efficacy and safety. Spine. 2006;31:2747–55. doi: 10.1097/01.brs.0000244639.71656.7d.

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