The spine’s starring role in the body doesn’t mean it’s immune to injury. Some of those injuries are extremely serious and can lead to chronic pain.
The vertebral compression fracture is one such injury, caused by the collapse of a vertebra or vertebrae. Sometimes referred to as a spinal compression fracture, a collapsed vertebra can cause debilitating back pain and loss of height, leading to other health problems.
Let’s examine some of the symptoms of this condition and the strategy of resolving compression fractures with kyphoplasty.
Compression Fracture Symptoms
If you’re experiencing symptoms like the following, you may have a compression fracture:
- The pain is worse when standing or walking
- Onset of the pain was sudden
- Pain when twisting or bending
- Reduction of pain when lying flat on your back
- Tenderness in parts of your spine
- Pain when taking a deep breath, laughing, coughing or sneezing
It’s important to understand that these symptoms not only indicate a compression fracture, but that they can lead to worse problems, if you don’t get the medical attention you need.
Kyphosis may develop because the anterior (front) portion of the spine loses height due to vertebral collapse, while the posterior (back) portion is unchanged. Kyphosis a precursor to Dowager’s hump establishing.
But compression fractures may cause a narrowing in the spinal canal (stenosis). This can provoke nerve damage.
We’re not talking about a pulled muscle. Compression fractures are serious and can lead to continuing health problems.
Vertebroplasty Vs. Kyphoplasty
A relatively brief and minimally invasive procedure, vertebroplasty stabilizes the collapsed vertebra and limits range of motion to prevent pain.
Using a tiny medical camera inserted in a needle, the surgeon locates the implicated vertebra, then injects it with PMMA (bone cement). This creates an internal support for the structure, preventing further degradation.
Kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty are similar procedures, with one key difference – kyphoplasty’s work is also achieved with a type of bone cement but aided by a balloon.
Also a minimally invasive procedure, kyphoplasty involves the insertion of a balloon through a small tube in order to accomplish a similar effect to vertebroplasty. Once the balloon is in position, it’s inflated, returning bone fragments to their original positions. It’s at this point that the bone cement is introduced.
The balloon is key to kyphoplasty’s success as an intervention for spinal compression fractures. The procedure allows for less leakage of the cement used and renders the restoration of vertebral height more predictable.
Its advantage is in the pressure used. Vertebroplasty uses more pressure and a more liquid form of bone cement, which may potentially leak into other bodily systems. This includes the cardio-pulmonary system, which can lead to serious complications.
Kyphoplasty is also a quick, outpatient procedure.
Spine Consult NJ
If you suspect you have a compression fracture, it’s crucial that you seek medical attention as soon as possible.
The team at Spine Consult NJ treats all conditions of the spine, with a network of spine care professionals at your disposal. Our goal is to restore your quality of life. Contact us.