Compression fractures are a common problem associated with osteoporosis. When your bones get thin and weak, the stress placed on your spine when you bend, twist, or even just sneeze, can cause a tiny fracture. If you have a larger fracture, or several tiny ones in one vertebra, it can cause the vertebra to compress or collapse. This can be very painful, and the pain makes it difficult to continue with normal activities. One solution to this problem is to have a kyphoplasty procedure. Here's how this medical treatment may be able to help you.
Why A Kyphoplasty Is Helpful
A kyphoplasty can be done on a single vertebra or several. It works by lifting the vertebrae back to their normal position, so there is less strain on your back and therefore less pain. This procedure may also improve your posture if the fractures have caused you to develop a hump in your spine. This treatment is not suitable for all types of back pain or all types of fractures, but it is often a good option for compression fractures that occur as a result of osteoporosis. However, you should also take steps to treat your osteoporosis or you could develop fractures again in another part of your spine.
How The Procedure Is Done
You may undergo this treatment as an outpatient. Your doctor has to consider your general health, age, and extent of your fractures in deciding whether to do the procedure as an outpatient with a local anesthetic, or as an inpatient with a general anesthetic. If you have the procedure as an inpatient, you will probably go home after an overnight stay at the hospital.
If you have the treatment as an outpatient, your back will be numb, and you'll probably receive sedation too, so you won't feel pain during the procedure. During a kyphoplasty, the doctor inserts a needle into your spine near the fractured area. There is no incision necessary since the doctor performs the procedure by watching it on an x-ray monitor. A balloon is passed through the needle once it is in the right spot. The balloon is then slowly inflated, and as it inflates, it moves the vertebra back into its normal position. Next, the doctor injects bone cement into the gap to hold the vertebra in place.
What To Expect During Recovery
Since there is no incision, recovery from this procedure is quick. If you have an outpatient procedure, you will be able to walk out the same day, although you won't be allowed to drive yourself home. You should rest for the first day and apply ice to the injection site if you have pain there. Your doctor will probably advise you to refrain from heavy lifting for a few weeks, but you'll be able to resume most of your usual activities right away.
You should notice immediate relief from your chronic back since your spine will be stabilized. Although you shouldn't need physical therapy to help you recover from the procedure, your doctor may recommend it to help you manage your osteoporosis. A therapist can teach you bone-building exercises that will make your bones stronger and hopefully reduce or prevent further fractures in your spine.
For more information, contact Southwest Florida Neurosurgical Associates or a similar organization.