Some Osteoporosis Patients Are Standing Taller
Introduced in the U.S. in 1998, kyphoplasty has helped hundreds of patients overcome the pain and deformities caused by osteoporosis.
"Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive surgery that can repair the vertebral fractures that often occur with osteoporosis," says Dr. Alexander Kandabarow of the Orthopedic Group at Uniontown Hospital.
Why do these fractures occur? "When people have osteoporosis, their bone structure is weakened due to loss of calcium," Dr. Kandabarow states. "The top of the vertebral body may collapse, causing the problems we associate with osteoporosis - wedged vertebrae, shortened height and a curved back."
"With kyphoplasty," he continues, "our goal is to stop the pain, stabilize the bone and restore some or all of the height lost due to the fracture."
During kyphoplasty, a small incision is made in the back and a narrow tube is inserted into the area of the fractured vertebrae. Guided by X-ray images, the orthopedist inserts a special balloon through the tube and then carefully inflates it, elevating the fractured pieces into more normal positions.
"After the balloon is removed," says Dr. Kandabarow, "a kind of bone cement is injected into the cavity that was created. This material hardens quickly, and when it does, the bone is stabilized."
"Pain relief can be immediate," he adds. "Patients usually go home the next day and can return to their normal activities."
Although the procedure is not for everyone, kyphoplasty is a good option for patients who are experiencing painful symptoms or deformities as the result of recent fractures. "If we can do the procedure within 8 weeks or so of when the fracture occurs, we have the highest probability of success," Kandabarow reports.Return to LEARN MORE