Who Is Eligible for Kyphoplasty?

Jan 18, 2024
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Preserving the spine can be difficult after a severe fracture to your vertebrae, but there are minimally invasive ways to restore stability and integrity.

Depending on the severity of your spine fracture, a broken vertebra might require anything from bed rest to minimally invasive restoration of the bone. If you’re experiencing chronic pain and other symptoms due to a compression fracture, you might benefit from undergoing kyphoplasty, which relieves pain and repairs damage to the bone. 

At Apex Endovascular, located in Fort Collins, Colorado, Dr. Shawn Ahmed can determine if you’re a good candidate for kyphoplasty to treat your spine fracture.

How kyphoplasty works

Compression fractures are painful spinal injuries that occur when the vertebrae begin to crumple and cave in. Fractures are often caused by osteoporosis, which weakens the bones and leaves them porous and prone to damage. 

This damage can be repaired during a kyphoplasty, a minimally invasive procedure that creates space in the vertebra before sealing it with cement. Dr. Ahmed completes the procedure without incisions by guiding the needle via fluoroscopy, or a moving X-ray image. 

Once the needle is in place, he inflates a small balloon through the hollow tube, or cannula, to create the space necessary to correct compression. He then withdraws the balloon and quickly fills the space with cement to restore the vertebra and relieve pressure and pain in the area. 

What makes a good candidate 

If you haven’t sought out a diagnosis yet, you might not realize you’ve suffered a fracture at all. However, if you’ve been suffering from chronic back pain, especially since a fall or accident, consider the symptoms of a compression fracture

  • Lost height (even just fractions of an inch)
  • Suddenly stooped posture
  • Difficulty lifting items
  • Relief from pain when you lie down 
  • Worsened pain when you twist or turn 

Most fractures don’t require much more than rest, physical therapy, and minimal pain medication. However, if your symptoms don’t improve, or if your X-rays reveal severe compression of the spine or a clear spinal fracture, your doctor might recommend this procedure. 

Vertebroplasty vs. kyphoplasty

Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are considered sister surgeries due to their similarities, and both use hollow needles and cement to restore the vertebrae. Vertebroplasty, however, doesn’t use an inflatable balloon.

Typically, kyphoplasty is only required in cases where the bone has collapsed so much that a cavity must be created before the cement can be injected. Your surgeon will be able to tell you which procedure you need after viewing your diagnostics. 

To learn more about compression fractures and their solutions, schedule a consultation with the team at Apex Endovascular by calling 970-508-8439, or book an appointment online.