When osteoporosis begins, your bones develop a less dense consistency with more air pockets, resembling the texture of sponge toffee. This can lead to brittleness and bone collapse, and when it affects your vertebrae, the resulting nerve compression can cause pain and weakness. Dr. Ashley M. Classen and the team at Trinity Pain Medicine Associates in Fort Worth, Texas are experts in minimally invasive kyphoplasty techniques, a surgical procedure that props up affected vertebrae and relieves nerve compression. Call or click today to learn if kyphoplasty can help your back condition.
The fractures that result from the effects of osteoporosis in the vertebrae are different than those that occur elsewhere in your body. An arm or leg bone may break more like a stick might. Vertebrae tend to collapse, taking on a wedge shape when compared with its original form. The so-called “dowager’s hump” that some older osteoporosis patients experience is the result of these collapsed vertebrae.
Osteoporotic fracture can change your height and spinal alignment, resulting in chronic or severe pain, reduced mobility, sleep issues, decreased lung capacity, and, in general, a more difficult time going through your everyday activities. Once one vertebra suffers an osteoporotic fracture, the risk of others collapsing rises without medical intervention. The change in alignment from one affected vertebrae may place greater strain on the surrounding bones.
The kyphoplasty procedure has three primary goals. Rather than setting a fracture to allow bones to repair themselves, kyphoplasty augments a vertebra to stabilize the bone, restore lost height caused by the collapse, and to reduce pain from associated nerve compression.
Using endoscopic procedures instead of open surgery, kyphoplasty is performed through a small incision. A narrow tube is inserted through the incision. Then a surgical balloon is inserted through this tube and carefully inflated to restore the collapsed vertebra to its original height. A cement-like substance is then pumped into the void created after the balloon is removed. This material quickly hardens, stabilizing the surrounding bone.
The procedure takes about an hour for each treated vertebra. You may be observed for a period after the procedure or kept in hospital overnight. For some patients, pain relief is instant, while others may find a reduced need for medication and pain reduction over a few days after surgery.
Once at home, you can return to your daily activities, provided these don’t include strenuous lifting or other exertion. You should be able to resume all activities in about six weeks. Some osteoporosis patients are not candidates for kyphoplasty, and if a deformity due to an osteoporotic fracture is established, kyphoplasty may not be successful.