Learn About the Latest Outpatient Procedure for Kyphosis
Kyphosis, also called roundback or hunchback, refers to an excessive or abnormal curvature of the spine in the cervical, thoracic or sacral regions. It’s common in older women and individuals with osteoporosis. Kyphosis can result from degenerative diseases such as arthritis, osteoporosis with vertebral compression fractures, multiple myeloma or trauma.
A normal thoracic spine extends from the 1st to the 12th vertebra and should have a slight angle, ranging from 20° to 45°. When roundness of the upper spine increases past 45° it is called kyphosis or hyperkyphosis.
While many cases of kyphosis are mild and individuals have no symptoms other than an exaggerated rounding of the back, serious cases can be debilitating and disfiguring. High degrees of kyphosis can cause severe pain, stiffness, breathing and digestion problems, and more serious problems including a shortened life span. Traditionally, spinal fusion surgery has been the only effective treatment to restore the body’s natural degree of curvature.
Treatments for Kyphosis:
Body braces are constructed to fit the patient’s body using a CAD/CAM device. Since there are different curve patterns for the thoracic, thoracolumbar and lumbar curves to your spine, different braces are used for different patients and problem areas. Back braces have shown some benefit for mild cases of kyphosis.
Some physicians have had success using the physical therapy system for scoliosis to treat patients with mild kyphosis. The patient lies face upward, a pillow is placed under the scapular region and stretching movements are performed to the cervical spine. Physical therapy can also be performed on one’s own restoring muscle strength and function through exercise.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can help to relieve pain, decrease inflammation and reduce fever. Ibuprofen and other over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications may also be used to manage pain.
In patients with progressive kyphosis who suffer from severe hunching or rounding of the spine due to vertebral collapse, spinal fusion surgery has been the primary treatment in the past. During spinal fusion surgery, bone is taken from the pelvic bone or from a bone bank and used to make a bridge between vertebrae. Metal implements are used to hold the vertebrae together until new bone grows between them. This surgery usually lasts several hours, and recovery can last for weeks, even months and include the need to wear a back brace and physical therapy.
Balloon Kyphoplasty offers patients a minimally-invasive alternative to surgery to repair broken vertebra. Unlike traditional back surgery with high risks and long hospital stays and recovery times, balloon kyphoplasty is performed as an outpatient procedure and usually requires less than an hour per fracture treatment. This revolutionary balloon kyphoplasty treatment uses orthopedic balloons to restore vertebral height and alignment and correct angular deformities in the spine. Balloons are carefully guided into the vertebra and inflated to reduce the fracture. After reduction, the balloons are deflated and removed. The resulting cavity is filled with Kyphon® bone cement forming an internal cast to stabilize the fracture. Patients are able to return home the same day, and resume daily activities right away.
Kyphoplasty has been proven to reduce or eliminate back pain and help patients return as close as possible to their original height.
The the Spine Fracture Center now offers two minimally-invasive treatments for Spinal Compression Fractures: Vertebroplasty and Kyphon® Balloon Kyphoplasty.
You do not have to feel alone during this time. The team at the Spine Fracture Center truly cares about you and your unique situation and is here to help. Please contact the the Spine Fracture Center for a physician consultation to discuss the risks and whether an interventional radiology procedure is right for you.