What is Kyphoplasty and How Can it Help Me?

Award-winning pain management physician Dr. John Michels is well-known in the Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, area for providing highly effective and minimally invasive treatments for chronic pain issues.

Read why Dr. Michels may recommend kyphoplasty as a nonsurgical solution for debilitating chronic pain related to spinal compression fractures.

What are spinal compression fractures?

Spinal compression fractures, also known as vertebral compression fractures (VCFs), occur when vertebrae in the spine crack and collapse. These fractures typically occur in the thoracic area (upper back) or lumbar region of the spine and can cause debilitating pain, abnormal curvature of the spine, and loss of height.

Damage sustained during a car accident, fall, or other trauma can cause vertebral collapse. Rarely, spinal tumors or various forms of cancer also cause these painful fractures.

But most often, VCFs are linked to decreased bone density related to osteoporosis. In its advanced stages, osteoporosis can weaken vertebrae to the point that even low-energy injuries such as plopping down in a wooden chair or a minor bump to the back can result in a compression fracture.

How does kyphoplasty help with compression fractures?

Vertebrae are the building blocks of your spine. Most adults have 24, which are evenly spaced and stacked vertically along the length of your backbone. They connect with one another via small flexible joints called facets and provide the strength your spine requires to remain upright.

A compression fracture causes the affected vertebra to collapse downward onto the next one in line. Kyphoplasty is designed to reduce pain from a compression fracture by stabilizing the damaged vertebra and restoring it to a normal height.

What happens during kyphoplasty?

You can expect Dr. Michels to discuss the expected outcome, aftercare instructions, and other specific details of kyphoplasty with you before scheduling the procedure.  

But generally, Dr. Michels first numbs the targeted treatment area with local anesthesia. Depending on your needs, he may also recommend IV sedation. 

He then creates a small incision over the targeted area and inserts a narrow tube (cannula) into the fractured vertebra using X-ray imaging to ensure correct positioning.  

Dr. Michels then guides a medical balloon through the cannula into the vertebra and inflates it to create a space that he fills with bone cement. It takes the cement approximately five to ten minutes to harden and restore the height, strength, and overall stability of the damaged vertebra.

After withdrawing the tube, he closes the incision with a small bandage or single suture. Patients return home the same day as the procedure.

For further information about compression fractures, kyphoplasty, and other minimally invasive procedures designed to relieve your pain and improve your quality of life, schedule a visit with Dr. Michels today. Call our office or request your appointment online.

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