Pain specialists at Midwest Orthopaedic Center use minimally invasive technique to treat painful compression fractures in the spine

By Robbye Bell, M.D.

Balloon kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat painful compression fractures in the spine. These fractures are most commonly the result of osteoporosis. When osteoporosis causes the bones in the spine (vertebrae) to weaken, they can collapse or compress from even routine movements of daily living. Compression fractures can also be caused by cancer damage or traumatic injury. While most compression fractures heal on their own, some can lead to a loss of height, hunched posture and chronic pain.

What is balloon kyphoplasty?

The goal of kyphoplasty is to relieve pain by stabilizing the broken bone. It can also restore a damaged vertebra’s height. The procedure can be done in a hospital or outpatient setting, either with local anesthesia to numb the area, or general anesthesia where the patient is asleep.

During the procedure, the doctor inserts a hollow needle through the skin and into the damaged bone. A type of x-ray called a fluoroscope is used to guide the needle into place. Then a balloon-like device is threaded through the needle into the bone and inflated to create space in the damaged vertebra. Special medical cement is injected into the space to keep it from collapsing again, and the balloon and needle are removed.

In most cases, the patient goes home the same day. Because there’s no incision, no stitches are required. Kyphoplasty usually provides pain relief and improved mobility within 48 hours. Over time, patients can often return to activities they enjoyed before the fracture occurred.

How do you know if kyphoplasty is right for you?

As with all medical procedures, kyphoplasty, while generally safe, is not for everyone. An individual who is experiencing chronic pain from a compression fracture should seek the help of a qualified pain management physician. If bed rest, pain medication and physical therapy do not relieve the pain, the patient may be a candidate for balloon kyphoplasty.

If you are experiencing chronic back pain or want to know if kyphoplasty is right for you, please call (309) 691-1400 to schedule an appointment with the pain management specialists at Midwest Orthopaedic Center. 

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