Osteoporosis is a condition that affects tens of millions of people – and that’s just in the U.S. alone. Every year, more than 700,000 of them experience spinal compression fractures (SCFs) that lead to chronic pain, muscle weakness, and poor posture. We can effectively treat SCFs with a procedure known as kyphoplasty.

Kyphoplasty has been utilized in this country since the 1990s. It is both minimally invasive and one of the most effective means we have of treating SCF pain. Up to 90% of kyphoplasty patients report either significant reduction or complete elimination of their back pain.


What are spinal compression fractures?


Spinal compression fractures occur when the mass of a vertebrae weakens to the point that it can no longer support enough weight. At that point, the bone collapses. In some cases, the collapse is straight down. In other cases, the top portion of the bone moves forward slightly.


SCFs are painful on multiple fronts. First is pain felt in the actual bone. Second is pain caused by compression of the spinal nerves. SCF also puts pressure on the surrounding muscles, which can cause a band-like pain across the chest.


How does kyphoplasty help?


Kyphoplasty is a procedure that seeks to restore the collapsed vertebrae to a proper height and position. The procedure involves expanding the bone to create a void, then filling the void with bone cement. The cement acts as a cast of sorts. It fully hardens, replacing lost bone mass, alleviating pain, and restoring posture.


How is the procedure performed?


Kyphoplasty is considered minimally invasive because it can be completed via an incision of no more than an inch. A doctor will create a working channel with this incision, a channel through which an inflatable balloon is inserted. The balloon is then inflated to restore the bone to its proper position.


Removing the balloon leaves a void behind. The doctor then fills the void with bone cement. The cement fills the cavity, restores stability to the bone, and takes pressure off the spinal nerves. The doctor removes the needle, closes the incision, and allows the patient some time to recover.


What can patients expect from the procedure?


Many patients report immediate pain relief. There may be some soreness at the site of the procedure, but it goes away in a day or so. As for those who do not report immediate pain relief, most experience significant or complete pain relief within 48 hours.


Patients are advised to rest for 24 hours following the procedure, after which they can resume normal activities. The procedure itself takes between 45 and 60 minutes. A recovery period of 30 minutes or so is required, during which medical staff will keep the patient under observation.


Is kyphoplasty right for me?


You are an ideal candidate for kyphoplasty if you suffer from SCFs due to osteoporosis. Obviously, a thorough diagnostic evaluation will need to be done to determine the actual cause of your back pain. If it is determined that SCF is appropriate, there is an exceptionally good chance that your back pain can be completely eliminated. A restoration of normal posture is also likely.


Contact Lone Star Pain Medicine to learn more about kyphoplasty and whether or not it is right for you. Kyphoplasty is one of the most successful treatments in the entire arena of chronic back pain. It may be the treatment you have been looking for.