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How Kyphoplasty Works

How Kyphoplasty Works

If you suffer back pain due to spinal compression fractures, kyphoplasty can help. 

John S. Michels, MD, is a pain management specialist with a busy practice in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas. He is renowned for his medical skill and has regularly received numerous awards for delivering highly successful, minimally invasive treatments for chronic pain.

Dr. Michels explains how kyphoplasty works and why he considers it an extremely effective solution for the pain and disability linked to spinal compression fractures.

Why would I need kyphoplasty?

Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that’s designed to relieve pain and mobility issues associated with vertebral compression fractures. 

Often caused by osteoporosis, cancer,  or the result of a traumatic injury, compression fractures are fairly common and occur when one or more vertebrae in your vertebral column crack or fracture.

This causes the vertebrae to weaken and lose their ability to provide the structural support your body requires. Depending on the location of the fracture, the damage frequently leads to visual deformity (stooped posture) and decreased mobility. This can cause unrelenting discomfort at the site of the fracture, even with the most  subtle movements.

How does kyphoplasty help?

During kyphoplasty, Dr. Michels injects quick-drying bone directly into the fracture to restore the strength and function of the bone.  The bone cement acts almost like an internal cast for the fracture.

Following kyphoplasty, many of our patients report nearly immediate relief from the pain associated with vertebral compression fractures. 

Mobility also improves as the structural support required from your spine returns.

Kyphoplasty is more likely to succeed when performed before the bone in the damaged vertebra heals into an abnormal shape and size, generally within two to three months of the fracture.

What happens during kyphoplasty?

This is an outpatient procedure that, depending on the number of vertebrae involved, generally takes about an hour to complete.

Using X-ray imaging as guidance, Dr. Michels first inserts a tiny tube (catheter) into the damaged vertebra. He gains access through a very small incision near the targeted treatment area. He then uses the catheter to position a medical balloon that, once inflated, returns the vertebra to its normal height.

Dr. Michels then injects bone cement into the cavity created by the balloon, which restores the normal strength and function of the vertebra. It takes the bone cement about five minutes to harden completely. 

Once he’s satisfied with the results, Dr. Michels then removes the catheter and closes the incision, typically with a bandage or steristrip.

Local anesthetic and light sedation prevents pain during the  kyphoplasty procedure, and you can expect to be monitored for a short time after the procedure before returning home the same day. 

Depending on your circumstances, Dr. Michels may recommend a rehab program to help restore normal mobility and strength, as well as treatment of the underlying cause of the fracture (osteoporosis, metastatic cancer, etc…).

For more information about kyphoplasty or any of the many treatments Dr. Michels provides for chronic pain conditions, schedule an evaluation today.

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