Florida Pain Medicine is a rotation site and teaching facility for USF Health ACGME Pain Medicine Fellowship and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Residency.

What Is Kyphoplasty?

What Is Kyphoplasty?

If you suddenly develop pain in your upper back, but didn’t engage in activities that might strain your back, you may have a vertebral compression fracture. 

And if you have a compression fracture, kyphoplasty is one of the most advanced and effective treatments you can receive. 

But if you want to consider a kyphoplasty, you can’t wait long to see the team at Florida Pain Medicine. They have extensive experience performing the procedure, but they can’t do it after your compression fracture heals.

Here’s what you need to know about compression fractures and the kyphoplasty procedure.

Kyphoplasty defined

Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure to restore vertebral strength and structure after a compression fracture. Before describing the kyphoplasty procedure, let’s talk about vertebral compression fractures.

About vertebral compression fractures

A compression fracture is different from other types of fractures. It takes a powerful force to break a healthy, strong bone. By comparison, compression fractures occur with minimal force because the bone is too weak to stand up to everyday pressure.

How do bones get too weak to do their job? Primarily through osteoporosis. Your bones naturally stay healthy through a constant process that eliminates old or damaged bone and replaces it with new bone.

As you get older, the process gets out of balance, and you lose bone faster than new bone grows. Over time, this process leads to weak, brittle bones. That’s when you have osteoporosis.

Compression fractures occur when a weak bone collapses. Though compression fractures could affect your hip and lower back, they most often occur in the vertebrae in the thoracic spine. The thoracic vertebrae connect to your ribs and make up your upper back.

Vertebral compression fracture symptoms

When a vertebral compression fracture occurs, you may experience symptoms such as:

During a compression fracture, the front side of the vertebra collapses, and the back stays the same height. This gives the bone a wedge-like shape. When two or more adjacent vertebrae suffer compression fractures, their new shape makes the spine take on a rounded appearance.

About the kyphoplasty procedure

Using real-time imaging to guide the procedure, we insert a hollow needle through your skin and into the center of the collapsed vertebra. We use the needle to inflate a medical-grade balloon. The balloon restores the vertebra’s height and creates a small cavity.

For the next step, we remove the balloon and use the same needle to inject bone cement. The cement fills the space and hardens. Following kyphoplasty, your bone retains its natural shape and strength, your spine regains stability, and most importantly, your pain goes away.

Can everyone have kyphoplasty?

In theory, everyone who suffers a compression fracture can have kyphoplasty, but there is an important caveat: You can’t have the procedure after the bone heals.

If your compression fracture heals, the bone hardens in its collapsed position. At that stage, we can’t restore its shape with a balloon.

If you want to consider kyphoplasty, it’s essential to meet with us within six weeks of the compression fracture, but earlier is better. Vertebral compression fractures typically heal in about 8-10 weeks, so we need to schedule a kyphoplasty well before you reach the eight-week mark.

If you experience sudden upper back pain, don’t wait to call Florida Pain Medicine or request an appointment online.

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