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Kyphoplasty: A Real Treatment Solution for Vertebral Compression Fractures

Suffering from back pain is such a common and expected issue among older men and women that many just accept it as a normal part of life. While back pain can stem from a variety of sources, simply living with the pain and the decreased quality of life it creates does not have to be your only option. If you suffer from a vertebral compression fracture and are unable to comfortably go about your day due to debilitating pain, IVC can help you regain your independence with effective, minimally invasive treatment.

At IVC, we offer life-changing solutions to disease and injury that allow our patients to live their lives unhindered by pain. Vertebral compression fractures can cause severe discomfort and keep you from doing the things you love. With an advanced, minimally invasive procedure called kyphoplasty, we may be able to correct your compression fracture and restore your strength with long-lasting results and minimal downtime.

Living with a Compression Fracture

Vertebral compression fractures are mostly found in patients with osteoporosis, but you may also develop a fracture from an injury or sudden trauma to your spine. Bone density and strength decreases for everybody with age, making you more susceptible to spinal injury from slipping or falling, lifting heavy objects, or even sneezing or coughing too aggressively. The fractures usually occur in the thoracic spine in the middle of the back, but they may also develop in the lumbar spine of the lower back. Wherever your compression fracture may be located, it is sure to cause you a mountain of pain.

Placing any kind of stress on the spine, whether while sitting down or standing, directs pressure to the weakened and crumbled bone of the vertebra, creating severe pain. You may find you are unable to walk or remain standing for long periods of time, and attempting to bend over and pick up an object may seem impossible. People who suffer from one vertebral compression fracture are several times more likely to develop another, meaning your pain may only compound over time if you leave your injury untreated.

Treating Your Back Pain

Treating back pain from a vertebral compression fracture can come in the form of many methods, some of them more conservative and others surgical. If you are younger and have recently suffered your first compression fracture, you may elect to use conservative therapy to heal your injury. Conservative therapy may consist of taking medication to control the pain, heating and icing the back at regular intervals, physical therapy to strengthen the supporting muscles of the spine, taking calcium supplements to counteract low bone density, wearing a back brace to take weight off the spine or complete bed rest to allow time for the body to heal.

With conservative therapy and plenty of downtime, a compression fracture may heal on its own in about three months. Unfortunately, many patients cannot afford to spend so much time recovering. Many patients also have multiple fractures that may make conservative therapy unviable or may wish to avoid taking narcotics to control their pain due to their side effects and the risk of addiction. For many patients, kyphoplasty surgery is the preferred option for quick and long-lasting relief from their back pain.

Kyphoplasty: The Back Pain Cure

Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that utilizes balloon catheters and bone cement to restore the affected vertebrae to their original height and strength. When a compression fracture develops, the front side of the vertebra collapses, creating a wedge shape in the spine. Multiple untreated compression fractures can cause patients to develop a medical condition called kyphosis which is characterized by a curved or humped spine. Kyphosis can cause a loss in height and also compress the vital organs, potentially leading to serious complications.

If you have been experiencing back pain, schedule an appointment with a medical professional right away to diagnose the issue and begin immediate treatment. A vertebral compression fracture can be successfully corrected using kyphoplasty, but leaving it untreated increases your chances for developing complications or additional fractures. Treating your compression fracture at its onset not only alleviates your pain sooner, but it also re-strengthens your spine and helps prevent further health issues from developing.

Once you have been diagnosed with a vertebral compression fracture using some type of diagnostic imaging, schedule a consultation at IVC to learn if you are a good candidate for kyphoplasty. Most patients make great candidates for this minimally invasive and effective procedure, and we may be able to cure your back pain within weeks of your diagnosis.

Your Kyphoplasty Procedure

Kyphoplasty is a quick procedure, lasting about one hour on average. Treatment for multiple fractures will necessitate a longer surgery, however, as our interventional radiologists work to address each affected vertebra. We complete the procedure under local anesthesia with sedation or general anesthesia, depending on your needs. We will discuss both options with you prior to your surgery and make a decision based on your overall health, individual needs and personal preferences.

At the start of the procedure, your interventional radiologist will make a one-centimeter incision across the fractured vertebra, exposing the bone. They will then insert a thin, hollow tube into the spine to provide access to the interior of the vertebra. A balloon-tipped catheter will then be passed through the tube and into the bone. Two balloons are typically used for the procedure, with one placed on each side of the vertebra.

Your interventional radiologist will then inflate the balloons, creating an outward pressure that pushes the bone back to its original height. The balloons will be removed, leaving a hollow cavity within the vertebra. A quick-drying orthopedic bone cement will be injected into the cavity, effectively sealing it and reinforcing the vertebra with an internal cast. The incision will then be stitched shut and any other fractures will be treated before completing the procedure.

Discover a Solution to Your Back Pain at IVC

After kyphoplasty, most patients notice an improvement in their back within the first week. Your exact recovery length will be determined by the number of fractures treated and your overall health, but most patients return to their normal daily routines in a matter of days. You will need to avoid exercise and more strenuous activities for several weeks, however, to ensure your fracture has healed completely.

For many men and women, back pain can become a normal part of life. If you have been living with your back pain and are ready to return to a healthy, active life, contact IVC and ask us about kyphoplasty. Our interventional radiologists will sit down with you during a one-on-one consultation to discuss the treatment in detail, highlighting each step of the procedure and explaining what kind of results you can expect. Call IVC today at 503-612-0498 to schedule your kyphoplasty consultation and begin your journey to a pain-free life.

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We are announcing that Interventional and Vascular Consultants will be closing as of March 10, 2023.

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Please know that we have greatly valued our relationship with you and wish you the best.


Jason Bauer, MD RVT
Michael Pfister, MD RVT

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