The adult spine is a column of 33 bones that protects the spinal cord and enables us to stand upright. Each bony segment of the spine is referred to as a vertebra (two or more are called vertebrae).
Having a spinal fracture means that one of the vertebra has either cracked or collapsed. Like other bones in the body, the extent of the break can vary, from a hairline fracture to a complete collapse of the vertebral body.
When a bone breaks, localized swelling can occur, and pain is common. In the spine, swelling and misalignment can irritate adjacent tissue and nerves. Damage to even one vertebra can alter the alignment of your spine, upsetting the distribution of weight along the spinal column and setting the stage for another fracture.
Kyphon® Balloon Kyphoplasty
Kyphon® Balloon Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that can repair spinal fractures. It takes about an hour per fracture level to treat a fracture with balloon kyphoplasty, and the procedure can be done on an outpatient or inpatient basis.
Kyphon Balloon Kyphoplasty can reduce or eliminate your back pain from a spinal fracture, as well as restore vertebral body height and proper alignment of your spine. Early and effective treatment (fixing the broken bone) may reduce the consequences of spinal fractures, especially those associated with other treatments, for example, prolonged bed rest or use of analgesics. 1-3
Other benefits include sustained improvement in mobility, improvement in ability to perform activities of daily living, and improved quality of life. Although the complication rate with Kyphon Balloon Kyphoplasty has been demonstrated to be low, as with most surgical procedures there are risks associated with the procedure, including serious complications. This procedure is not for everyone. A prescription is required. Please consult your physician for a full discussion of risks and whether this procedure is right for you.
What can happen if spinal fractures aren’t diagnosed and treated?
It’s important to diagnose and treat spinal fractures early. Better results can typically be achieved when a fracture is treated sooner rather than later. Kyphotic deformity (a rounded or humped back) and progressive bone weakness increase your risk for additional fractures.
In cases of pronounced kyphosis, your ability to breathe, walk, eat, or sleep properly may be adversely affected. Consult with your doctor to determine your condition and the appropriate treatment.
What can a patient reasonably expect after undergoing Kyphon® Balloon Kyphoplasty?
Published studies report a marked reduction in pain, sometimes within hours of the procedure.1 Kyphon Balloon Kyphoplasty has been shown to improve mobility and enable patients to return to everyday activities such as walking, bending, and lifting, with significantly less pain than they had prior to the procedure.
Patients report improved mental health, vitality, social function, and emotional well-being.
Can a spinal fracture that occurred a long time ago be treated with Kyphon Balloon Kyphoplasty?
Age of a spinal fracture and treatment success varies from patient to patient. Each patient is unique. The specific treatment options and the timing of those treatments should be discussed with your doctor.
Can any doctor perform Kyphon Balloon Kyphoplasty?
Generally, doctors performing Kyphon Balloon Kyphoplasty first attend a special training course taught by doctors who have extensive experience with the procedure. Doctors trained to do the procedure include orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, interventional neuroradiologists, and interventional radiologists. In addition, pain-management specialists who specialize in treating the spine can perform balloon kyphoplasty.
Doctors who treat patients with osteoporosis (general practitioners, rheumatologists, endocrinologists, physical medicine practitioners, gynecologists, and geriatricians) or cancer (oncologists) can refer spinal fracture patients to spine specialists trained to do the procedure.
After balloon kyphoplasty, the patient should return to the referring doctor for medical management of the underlying disorder, for example, osteoporosis.