Kyphoplasty

Minimally Invasive Surgical Technique to Treat Spinal Compression Fractures

The experts at Loyola Medicine’s spine program are experienced with all types of spine surgeries, including vertebral augmentation surgeries such as kyphoplasty. Our orthopaedic specialists, neurologists and neurosurgeons work together as an integrated team to offer you the best treatment options for your particular case.

Spinal compression fractures can have a devastating impact on patients. They can lead to nerve damage, back pain, loss of height, a stooped posture or trouble walking. In extreme cases, patients are confined to bed. A spine fracture might be caused by trauma to the back, bone tumors or damage from osteoporosis. Symptoms include:

  • Numbness or tingling
  • Pain in the middle or lower back
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Urinary incontinence or urinary retention
  • Weakness

Kyphoplasty is a surgical procedure most frequently used to treat spinal compression fractures caused by osteoporosis and other conditions that leave bones weak. It takes its name from the word kyphosis, which refers to the natural forward curvature of the top of the spine. The procedure is used when more conservative methods do not relieve pain. 

Your Loyola surgeon will use a balloon to create a small space within your vertebrae (bones of the spine). Your surgeon will then inject PMMA (a bone cement) into the space to make sure the bone does not collapse again. 

Vertebroplasty, a similar procedure, uses a high-pressure cement injection but does not use an inflated balloon. A kyphoplasty is more likely to be recommended for a patient who has older spinal fractures.

Why Choose Loyola for Kyphoplasty?

Loyola’s spinal surgeons work closely with interventional radiologists and pain control specialists to provide compassionate, quality care. Spine surgery requires work on some of the smallest and most delicate parts of the body. In these cases, it is crucial to choose an experienced surgical team who specializes in spinal procedures. At Loyola, you will be cared for by an orthopaedic spine specialist who provides the most advanced treatment options using the latest technology. 

Loyola uses advanced intraoperative imaging, allowing surgeons to use CT (computed tomography) and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) technology to capture detailed 3D pictures of your spine during surgery. 

Loyola is one of only a few centers in the United States performing vertebroplasty, a procedure similar to kyphoplasty. As a result of the procedure, patients experience relief from severe chronic back pain without the need for narcotic medications or major back surgery.

What To Expect During Kyphoplasty

Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure performed in a hospital or outpatient clinic. You will receive local anesthesia or general anesthesia (in which you will be asleep for the entire procedure). You will lie face down and your Loyola doctor will put a needle through your skin and into your spine. A continuous X-ray is used to guide the needle to the exact spot, and your body will be protected from radiation. 

Your Loyola spine surgeon will place a balloon through the needle into the bone. It will then be inflated from within the vertebra, restoring the height and shape of the bone. This balloon is removed and cement is then slowly injected into the space, increasing the strength and durability of the affected vertebrae.

This procedure frequently gives patients relief from pain related to a compression fracture. It takes about an hour for your surgeon to treat each vertebra. You will likely be able to go home on the day of surgery, but you should not drive home. You will be able to return to your regular activities after about 24 hours but will need to avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activity for several weeks.

What are the Risks of Kyphoplasty?

Your Loyola surgeon will discuss the risks and benefits of any surgical treatment plan with you prior to surgery. The risks of kyphoplasty include nerve damage, spinal cord injury or compression, infection, vein thrombosis and blood clots. Loyola’s spine surgeons are highly skilled and are recognized for superior patient outcomes and will work to prevent any surgical complications.