Sometimes people develop a crushing fracture or break in the spine or vertebrae. This fracture is known as a compression fracture. Typically when someone fractures a bone in their arm or leg it is placed in a cast to heal in the proper position. But with a compression fracture we cannot put a cast on the outside of your spine. Instead a cement material is placed into the fractured bone. This acts like a cast, stopping the spine from moving and relieving the back pain.
Once your doctor and you agree that this procedure may be the right course of action your physician will schedule you for an MRI or CT scan. The physician and an Interventional Radiologist then will review the results and determine if you are a candidate for the Kyphoplasty procedure. This is also a great time to ask any questions you may have. Prior to this appointment the patient will have an MRI of the spine. If that is not possible then a CT image of the spine is made and nuclear medicine test is done.
The day of the procedure, outpatients will start in Ambulatory Care where the patient will be changed into a gown, an IV started, and medical history taken. The patient will be brought to the Radiology Department where the procedure will be explained and any questions answered. You also will meet with an Anesthesiologist who will administer medications during the procedure to help you relax.
The patient will be placed on the X-ray table lying face down and the back cleaned with sterile soap. The doctor will take an X-ray to determine the best angle to place a needle into the fracture. The doctor will then numb the skin and the Anesthesiologist or Nurse Anesthesist will give some pain medication through the IV.
The doctor will place the needle into the fractured area of the spine, checking its location with the X-ray. When it is in place a balloon will be placed into the fracture and inflated to create a pocket for the cement and to restore some of the bone height that was lost from the fracture. The balloon is removed after 1 minute and the cement is injected into that pocket. The cement will start to harden within minutes.
The patient is then returned to the bed and taken to a recovery room for 1 hour. Following recovery, the patient is taken back to the Outpatient Surgery/Endoscopy Department for another hour before being released to go home.
You may feel something like a bee sting when the doctor numbs the entry site. You also may feel some pushing at the entry site when needle is put in place, but because of the Anesthesia medications, patients will not recall this.
We want you to take it easy for the rest of the day. You will be given some rules to follow when you go home. Generally you can return to normal activity the next day.
The doctor will be able to tell you and your family the results as soon as the procedure is finished. The pain relief may take any were from a few days to a month. Most patients (about 95 percent) receive some back pain relief within the first day.