Traditionally, doctors have treated spinal fractures using methods that strictly addressed the pain. However, there is a better option in the outpatient procedure known as kyphoplasty. This procedure is used to quickly relieve pain associated with a spinal fracture while also correcting the fracture—typically, patients can go back to their normal activities without restrictions.
The procedure is done by creating a small incision in the back, closest to the vertebra involved. The surgeon then uses a narrow tube to create a path and allow entry into the fracture. Once the tube is in place, a specially designed balloon is guided into the fracture. The balloon is carefully and gently inflated to elevate the fracture and return lost vertebral height. In order to permanently keep the repaired vertebral height, the surgeon fills the cavity with a pasty, cement-like material. The pasty material hardens quickly after being injected and stabilizes the bone. The pain associated with the fracture is quickly alleviated.
Many patients will experience immediate relief, while some report pain reduction within two days. Patients are encouraged to return to their daily activities while avoiding any strenuous activity, such as heavy lifting, for ten days.