Q: My mother suffers from osteoporosis and is experiencing pain in her spine. I was told a “kyphoplasty” could help. What is that?
A: A kyphoplasty is a surgical procedure in which a broken bone in the spine is restored to its original height and then stabilized with bone cement. In the old days, the only way to treat a vertebral compression fracture was with a brace that the patient would wear for 3 to 6 months, giving the bone time to heal. But the brace would, naturally, limit the patient’s mobility, and the broken bone would continue to hurt until it had healed completely. Additionally, the bone would sometimes heal in a crooked, collapsed position, which could eventually lead to scoliosis or a hunch back.
Kyphoplasty bypasses all of this. A needle is inserted into the broken bone, after which a balloon is inflated to re-expand the broken bone back to its normal size and position. Then, the balloon is withdrawn and bone cement is injected into the fracture site. This cement hardens immediately, and the fracture is instantly healed. Rather than waiting a few months, the patient experiences pain relief and restoration of their normal spinal alignment in a few minutes. Her mobility is preserved, and she can continue to live a healthy, productive life – all because of a small needle stick in less than 30
Daniel Kueter, M.D.Neurosurgeon
Chattanooga Neurosurgery & Spine
Office Located in Downtown Chattanooga at 1010 E. 3rd Street