Balloon Kyphoplasty Procedure Available at Orange Park Medical Center
November 10, 2010
Orange Park Medical Center is offering balloon kyphoplasty, a minimally invasive treatment option for patients suffering from spinal fractures due to osteoporosis. Balloon kyphoplasty is designed to correct spinal deformity due to osteoporotic fractures, significantly reducing back pain and improving a patient’s ability to return to daily activities.
Osteoporosis is a disease that causes the bones of the spine – called vertebrae – to weaken and often collapse, resulting in spinal fractures. Traditional treatment for spinal fractures includes bed rest, medication and back bracing. While these therapies may help to decrease a patient’s pain over time, they do not treat the deformity related to the osteoporotic fractures.
Interventional radiologist, Clifford Spohr, M.D., says there are two goals with the balloon kyphoplasty procedure. “The first goal is to stabilize the compression fractures so that they stop hurting. The second is to try to reestablish some bone height, so you don’t have kyphosis — the bending of the spine that develops with compression fractures.”
Left untreated, this condition is painful and debilitating — making walking, eating, sleeping and even breathing painful and difficult. And once a patient suffers one vertebral compression fracture, the risk of suffering another one increases five-fold. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, each year 700,000 Americans suffer from spinal fractures due to osteoporosis. Unfortunately, over 400,000 of these fractures go undiagnosed and untreated due in part to lack of awareness about osteoporosis and available treatment options.
Balloon kyphoplasty is normally done as an outpatient procedure and may take about one hour for each compression fracture treated. The procedure is usually performed with the patient receiving mild conscious sedation and local anesthesia. This allows even very elderly patients, some with complex medical problems to be candidates.
With the patient lying on his or her stomach, the interventional radiologist makes a small incision in the patient’s back. The physician then uses a tiny drill to create an opening in the vertebrae. A tiny, balloon is then passed through and inflated. The balloon creates a cavity inside the bone and supports it so that the physician can inject special, acrylic cement into the space. The balloon is removed and the cement quickly dries, correcting the deformity that was caused by the compression fracture.
Spohr says the procedure is one of the most gratifying to perform. “It’s very nice to be able to treat elderly patient suffering from pain and 85-90 percent of the time they have dramatic relief and can return to a more functional life. That’s the goal, really, to keep them moving and independent and pain free.”
Balloon kyphoplasty, is similar to vertebroplasty. Both procedures are types of vertebral augmentation procedures performed at OPMC designed to repair spinal compression fractures. To be considered for either procedure, patients need a referral from their primary care provider or orthopedic surgeon. The public may call our free Consult-A-Nurse service at 800-889-3627 to speak with a nurse about health concerns or for a referral to any type of physician.