Kyphoplasty, a minimally invasive procedure, is often used to treat vertebral compression fractures caused by osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a bone disease that affects over 50 million people in the U.S. each year. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, “one in two women and one in four men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.”

Watch This Video About Kyphoplasty

When osteoporosis occurs, bones become weak and brittle which can lead to breaks from falls or even minor events like sneezing.

These injuries can also lead to vertebral compression fractures, or bones within the spine that have collapsed.

As a result, the bones making up this portion of the spine can no longer handle their load which may lead to hunching or loss of height. These fractures can cause chronic pain (that is, pain lasting more than six months) or more advanced spinal cord injuries.

When bed rest and braces fail to work, interventions like kyphoplasty can be used to heal the fracture. In a kyphoplasty procedure, physicians use x-rays to determine the exact point of the break. A small inflatable balloon is then injected into the vertebrae that helps restore length in the spine and straighten any excessive curving.

As opposed to vertebroplasty, a similar procedure, kyphoplasty reduces overall operating time and exposure to radiation. As with any medical procedure, there are some risks, but the majority of patients will have minimal side effects. These may include a higher incidence of anemia following the procedure due to temporary blood loss during the kyphoplasty. There is also a slightly increased risk of cardiac complications especially for high-risk cardiac patients.

When kyphoplasty is used to treat compression fractures, it can lead to a rapid reduction in pain, with a quick recovery time. 

Patients who have undergone a kyphoplasty procedure may only need to stay in the hospital overnight to heal, with some returning home the same day. For many, significant pain relief and enhanced mobility are noted as soon as 48 hours after the procedure.

Have you undergone a kyphoplasty procedure? Do you suffer from osteoporosis? 

Image by Ed Yourdon via Flickr

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