Could Your Spine Be Broken?
The spine has strong bones called vertebrae that support the spinal cord and help with movement. Yet, even these strong bones are prone to breaks. Vertebral compression fractures, in particular, are painful, uncomfortable injuries that impact the spine. Over 1 million fractures happen yearly, and kyphoplasty is the best surgical procedure to correct the issue. Patients tend to be concerned about the length and complexity of the surgery. But thanks to minimally invasive methods, kyphoplasty can be done on an outpatient basis.
Osteoporosis and your spine
Vertebral compression fractures aren’t common but can seriously affect movement and quality of life. Most happen due to osteoporosis, a condition in which bones become weak, porous, and easily broken. In rare cases, an injury or tumor in the spine can cause a compression fracture. For persons with osteoporosis, what many might call a harmful fall could make one or more vertebrae collapse. Even vigorous coughing can cause the bones to crack.
Signs you have a compression fracture
Compression fractures often happen in the middle of the spine. These fractures can bring on a sudden onset of pain and discomfort. This pain can increase when standing, walking, or lying down for long periods. The middle of the back begins to feel unstable and can lead to a reduced range of motion. Over time, the fracture can reduce one’s height and cause the spine to curve unnaturally. Kyphoplasty corrects the issue by restoring the vertebrae’s natural size and reducing pain.
What happens during kyphoplasty?
Kyphoplasty is a complex surgical procedure that seeks to stop the pain caused by spinal fractures. The process also aims to strengthen the bone and restore the height of the damaged vertebrae. To start, the patient will be given general anesthesia and placed face down to access the spine. A small incision allows the surgeon to pass a tube to the affected bone. From there, the doctor inserts a special balloon through the tube into the vertebrae. The balloon inflates, restoring the vertebrae to the original height. From there, the doctor removes the balloon and inserts a quick-drying cement to secure the bone.
Could I go home immediately?
After the cement-like material is added, the patient is moved to recovery for observation for a few hours. Kyphoplasty takes just an hour or more to complete, depending on the number of damaged bones. Since the procedure needs minor incisions, doctors consider the procedure minimally invasive. If the surgery happens at an ambulatory surgical center, the patient can leave the same day. Ambulatory surgical centers, or ASCs, focus on performing minimally invasive, outpatient procedures like kyphoplasty only. At a conventional hospital, however, the patient will stay for 24 hours.
Outpatient surgery can help
Kyphoplasty is an effective procedure that can bring relief in just a few days. Recovery requires a combination of rest and minor physical therapy. Within 6-8 weeks, normal activities can resume. No surgery is without risk, so speak with the surgeon about any possible complications. Furthermore, discuss ways to improve bone health if the issue is related to osteoporosis. Once a doctor confirms kyphoplasty is possible, the surgery can be done at an ASC as an outpatient procedure.