Kyphoplasty - Spinal Compression Fracture Treatment
If you’ve suffered a compression fracture of the spine or bone loss in one or more of your vertebrae due to osteoporosis, you have likely experienced back pain and maybe even limitations to your daily activities. Fortunately, a minimally invasive treatment called kyphoplasty can restore shape and function to damaged vertebrae, often immediately relieving back pain.
Dr. Taqi is a triple-board-certified neurointerventionalist that has years of experience and extensive expertise in treating spinal damage. Dr. Taqi understands how stressful back pain and injuries can be. He will take the time to walk you through your kyphoplasty and answer all of your questions along the way. His advanced skills and caring manner make him one of Southern California’s most sought-after physicians. Contact us today to arrange your consultation for kyphoplasty in Thousand Oaks or West Hills.
What is kyphoplasty?
A break or fracture of the vertebrae can cause pain when bone fragments rub against each other. Broken vertebrae are often the result of bones collapsing, a condition that is more likely in individuals who have suffered bone loss due to osteoporosis. The resulting break is called a compression fracture. Though not every patient who has broken vertebrae is a candidate, many patients can benefit from a surgical repair of the fracture, called kyphoplasty.
Kyphoplasty is a multi-step procedure to repair broken vertebrae. In short, a balloon is inserted into the bone through a specialized needle, and it is inflated to make room for a cement mixture that repairs the fracture and provides support for the spine. This procedure, also called balloon vertebroplasty, is most effective when performed within a month or two of the fracture diagnoses. Kyphoplasty helps many patients improve their mobility and often relieves pain when other options have been exhausted.
How is kyphoplasty performed?
Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that usually doesn’t require general anesthesia. Once you have had the chance to speak with Dr. Taqi so he can explain the process and answer any last-minute questions you might have, he will ask you to lay on your stomach. He will clean and possibly shave the skin overlying the target vertebra, and then administer local anesthesia to numb the area. You may also receive IV sedation to help you relax.
By using a type of real-time X-ray called fluoroscopy, he will guide a needle through the skin and muscles and into a precise location in the target vertebra. Dr. Taqi will pass an inflatable balloon through the needle into the bone and then inflate it to create space. Opening this space in the vertebra allows your surgeon to then fill it with bone cement that will provide structural support and reverse the damage to the bone. Continuous monitoring through fluoroscopy will ensure that Dr. Taqi is able to shape the bone cement and repair the fracture(s). Once the cement is in place, Dr. Taqi will remove the needle and bandage the area. Generally, there are no stitches necessary for kyphoplasty. The entire procedure usually takes less than an hour when only one vertebra is involved. If you are going home on the same day as your procedure, you will need someone to drive you and stay with you for a bit.
Recovery from kyphoplasty
Most patients return home on the same day as their kyphoplasty. However, patients who have kyphoplasty performed on more than one vertebra or who have a complication during the surgery may need to stay overnight in the hospital. It is also common for patients who are in poor general health to stay overnight for observation after kyphoplasty.
Most patients will be able to get up and move around within an hour or two of their procedure, once they have recovered from any anesthesia. You can expect to have some soreness and discomfort initially, but you can easily manage these with pain medications and intermittent icing of the treatment area. Dr. Taqi will give you specific instructions to follow during your initial recovery; it is essential to follow his recommendations to support your healing and maximize your outcome from the procedure. He will let you know when it is safe to resume normal physical activities, but you should expect to rest for at least the first couple of days after your kyphoplasty.
The best first step to take is to gather your medical records and imaging from previous doctor visits. You can get your imaging results in DVD format to bring to your consultation, in case records are not electronically shared. Having a paper copy of any provider notes can also be helpful. Dr. Taqi will ask you about your current medications and any supplements you are taking. Finally, bring any questions you may have, as Dr. Taqi is happy to make sure you understand the procedure and recovery process. Coming prepared will help you to get the most out of your consultation.
No medical procedure is without risks. The most common risks associated with kyphoplasty include bleeding or infection at the treatment site. Though rare, nerve damage can occur during the procedure, which can cause tingling, numbness, or weakness. There is also the risk of an allergic reaction to the materials used during the kyphoplasty. Though not a direct result of the kyphoplasty, about 10% of patients end up with another compression fracture at some point.
An unfortunate side effect of some cancers and cancer treatments is an undermining of the structural integrity of the bone, which sometimes leads to compression fractures of the vertebrae. Kyphoplasty has successfully been used in cancer patients to restore mobility and reduce pain.
Kyphoplasty is a procedure that is appropriate to treat fractures of the vertebrae in some patients. It is generally not used to treat other conditions that cause back pain, such as arthritis, herniated disks, or scoliosis.