If you have a compression fracture in the spine and have been told you need surgery, it’s worthwhile to get a second opinion from a pain specialist. Integrated Pain Consultants was established to offer patients options and alternatives for their pain relief, and many of our team members are double board-certified in pain management and anesthesiology. When you see a GP for pain, you are usually presented with just two options: medication for mild to moderate pain and sometimes surgery for more severe pain. Spinal compression fractures are often referred to surgery, but kyphoplasty may be an alternative.
Spinal compression fractures are typically caused either by trauma (like a car accident) or from cancer that damages the vertebrae. In most cases, these fractures aren’t going to respond to conservative back pain treatments. Understandably, a lot of people also want to avoid lifelong pain management using medication. Taking such drugs for long-term pain leads to a high risk of dependency and addiction.
Kyphoplasty is a medical procedure that injects a special type of “bone cement” into the damaged part of the vertebrae. This damage could be caused by compression, but it could also be from a fracture, crack, or collapse of a vertebra. When space is re-introduced where it’s supposed to be, pain relief follows. Vertebral compression, regardless of the cause, can be excruciating and immobilizing. You need and deserve relief, but that doesn’t mean surgery is necessarily your only option.
Kyphoplasty is sometimes called balloon-assisted vertebroplasty. The cement used is a type of medical-grade acrylic, and it was designed specifically to reinforce damaged vertebrae. It’s not nearly as invasive as back surgery, and is performed with a special needle. An anesthesiologist delivers medication via an IV and, depending on the patient and the damage, you may simply be relaxed or you may be asleep during the procedure.
A live x-ray (fluoroscopy) is used during kyphoplasty to ensure that the cement is flawlessly delivered. The doctor places the needle into the damaged area to create a “balloon” of space for the cement. It’s a lot like regular vertebroplasty, but that balloon adds necessary height and space. The entire procedure takes less than half an hour and relief is often immediate.
If you have a cracked or collapsed vertebra or suffer from osteoporosis, kyphoplasty might be for you. Schedule a detailed evaluation by booking an appointment with Integrated Pain Consultants. Call (480) 626-2552.