Minimally invasive kyphoplasty gives patients an alternative to invasive surgery or conservative therapies in the treatment of compression fractures of the spine. These fractures, a common consequence of aging and osteoporosis, often cause patients to lose height and develop a stooped posture, leading to intense back pain and other symptoms. Without treatment, patients are at increased risk for developing serious and potentially fatal medical conditions.
Kyphoplasty is a type of vertebroplasty (to fix a fracture) in which the vertebral body is first prepared by using a balloon to inflate and reposition the vertebra. A cement is then put in place in order to fix the vertebral body, and help it resume a more normal shape.
Kyphoplasty requires only a very small incision in the back. A narrow tube is inserted through the incision using fluoroscopy (live X-ray) to guide it into the correct position in the damaged vertebrae. Using the tube as a channel, the physician then guides a special balloon into the vertebral body. The balloon is then carefully inflated, restoring the vertebrae to a more normal shape. It also creates a cavity in the vertebral body by compacting the soft inner bone material. The balloon is then deflated and gently removed.
Special instruments are used to fill the cavity with a soft cement-like material, which quickly hardens to stabilize the vertebrae.
Kyphoplasty is also used for reinforcing a vertebral body after draining a cystic tumor.