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A kyphoplasty is performed on those suffering from compression fractures of the vertebrae, offering the potential to restore bone height and reverse deformity of the spine that may be causing pain. Compression fractures are tiny cracks in the bone of the spine that can eventually cause the vertebrae to collapse and deform. The shape, height, and structure of the spine can be permanently altered as a result. The collapse can also cause pieces of bone to press on the spinal cord and nerves, decreasing the amount of blood and oxygen that gets to the spinal cord.
During the surgery, your surgeon will insert a thin tube into the fractured vertebrae through a small incision in the back. Through this tube, your surgeon will drill a small hole through the hard, outer part of the bone and into its softer center. This pathway allows your surgeon to insert a special balloon inside the vertebrae, which is then inflated. The caps of the fractured vertebrae are pushed apart and restored to its original shape, or as much as possible. The balloon is then deflated and removed, leaving a cavity that is then filled with bone cement, which hardens quickly to keep the bone’s new shape.
A kyphoplasty is most effective if performed within 8 weeks following the injury or onset of the fracture. The fracture may start to heal if treatment is delayed, and your surgeon may be limited in rebuilding the bone height.