A Same-Day Minimally Invasive Kyphoplasty May Be All You Need.

If you suffer from a recent compression fracture in your spine and want to avoid extensive surgery, a kyphoplasty procedure in Charleston, SC, may be a good choice for your needs. 

Kyphoplasty is a same day, minimally invasive procedure performed by a board certified Neurosurgeon. This same day procedure can be performed in our office, in our affiliated surgery center, or even in the hospital if necessary. 

At SCS, we can provide you with this procedure to address many problems, including:

  • Osteoporotic Compression Fractures
  • Non-traumatic Compression Fractures
  • Loss of Vertebral Height and alignment due to Compression Fractures. 
  • Stabilization of a fractured spinal segment
  • Pain management for back fractures

This procedure is designed as a type of vertebral augmentation and is similar to methods like vertebroplasty or radiofrequency vertebral augmentation. The goal of the procedure is to reduce the patients pain, prevent additional spinal deformity, and allow the patient to resume normal daily activities.

Common Causes of Spinal Fractures – Issues To Look For Before Visiting

Our bones tend to soften as we age. For our older population of patients, this makes the boney more fragile and the possibility of compression of the bone becomes more common over time. This condition is known as Osteoporosis. For those with very advanced softening of the bones, something as simple as lifting a flowerpot off the ground can cause compression of the lumbar or thoracic bones. The compressed bone is very painful and debilitating. Also, unless it is treated effectively, it can actually compress more creating more pain and spinal deformity.

At SCS in Charleston, SC, in additional to treating these common osteoporotic compression fractures, we can also treat compression fractures related to these other conditions with Kyphoplasty:

  • Spinal compression due to spinal infections
  • Spinal compression due to spinal tumors
  • Spinal compression due to trauma
  • Spinal compression due to other conditions such as leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma.

Who is a good candidate for Kyphoplasty?

Kyphoplasty is one of our most successful minimally invasive same day procedures. Because of that, we can offer it to a large majority of qualifying patients. Also, because we can perform the procedure in the office, we are able to lessen the cost of the procedure as compared to having the same procedure done in a hospital. Of course, we carefully select the best setting for your needs.

Before we perform a kyphoplasty procedure in Charleston, SC, we’ll make sure that you are a good candidate for this procedure. Most people with symptomatic compression fractures should qualify for our care. 

We may initiate your treatment with a supportive brace and some pain management. This will depend on the duration of your pain and the imaging findings that we have on your first visit with us. 

However, in some cases, we may need to discuss kyphoplasty at our first visit. Because the kyphoplasty is done via a small tube we can offer it to patients of all ages and body types. Kyphoplasty, as compared to bracing alone, can in some cases reduce the severity and/or the duration of pain.In evaluating you for the Kyphoplasty, we will get an MRI or Bone Scan. In doing this, we can usually identify other condition that may be aggravating the pain such as lumbar stenosis, arthritis, facet arthropathy, or even bulging disks.

Your Kyphoplasty Surgery – How This Process Works

Your kyphoplasty procedure in Charleston, SC, focuses on using a minimally invasive incision in your back through which our doctors will work. This incision is typically smaller than the width of a pencil eraser head. Through this incision we insert the tube that goes into the bone. This tube is called a cannula. 

Then, we use x-ray machines to carefully position the cannula, allowing us to identify the fractured area of your back and spot the fractured bone. Once positioned, we will use x-ray images to guide us as we place a surgical balloon through the cannula. We then gently guide the balloon into the impacted vertebrae and slowly inflate it. 

We carefully monitor every step of this process, watching as the balloon inflates to lift the fracture. This lifting moves the damaged parts of the vertebrae into their proper position. Once inflated, we insert a special bone glue into the cavity created by the balloon to support your back. Some people call this glue ‘bone cement.’ The medical name of this bone glue is polymethylmethacrylate or PMMA. It is a common type of surgical cement that helps to stabilize the bone and provides you with the long-term support that your back needs. 

The procedure itself takes less than 30 minutes. There is some additional prep time needed in most cases. At the end of the procedure we will place a small band aid on each incision. After the procedure we will monitor you and make sure that you are in good shape during your immediate recovery. You will have no formal limitation because the bone glue that we use is completely solid before you even leave the procedure room. 

We will ask you to have a ride home, as it is not safe to drive immediately after your procedure because of the sedation that you will have received. You will need only one follow up visit with us during your recovery. This will be to make sure you are experiencing the pain relief that we expect and to make sure your small incision is healing well. 

Will I Be Awake During The Kyphoplasty Procedure?

Regardless of the facility at which we perform the procedure, our goal is to provide you with enough sedation that you are comfortable during the procedure. By keeping you comfortable and relaxed, the procedure will move along more quickly, and the results will be excellent. This is an advantage for all of us. Most patients will report some minor pressure during the procedure. In every case, we use local anesthetic and IV sedation. This is sufficient for most patients and creates a very pleasant experience. 

Your Recovery Period – What You Need to Know

After going home from your procedure, you may notice pain relief immediately. However, most patients see a reduction in pain within two days. When home, you should be able to return to your normal daily activities, such as going to work, taking care of your family, or attending school.

However, you will need to avoid any activities that may put a heavy strain on your spinal column for at least four weeks. If you don’t avoid these activities, you could cause your procedure to fail and experience more pain:

  • Heavy lifting, such as bodybuilding or carrying heavy objects at work.
  • Strenuous exercise that puts weight on your back
  • Climbing ladders or other vertical areas
  • Jumping or moving your body too suddenly
  • Lifting heavy children during play

Some people may need over-the-counter or prescription painkillers to manage any lingering pain. Most people rarely use these medications for more than a day or two after surgery. In most cases, Tylenol or Ibuprofen is more than adequate for pain.

Potential Complications – Risk Factors and Limitations

While the kyphoplasty procedure in Charleston, SC, will help strengthen your back and minimize height loss and pain due to the compression fracture, some unlikely complications must be considered. Most of these problems occur very rarely with this procedure. However, patients interested in kyphoplasty care at SCS need to understand the potential risks to make an informed decision. They include:

  • Potential allergic reaction to the anesthesia
  • Risk of infection in the procedure area
  • Nerve or spinal cord damage (very rare)
  • Potential damage caused by leaking PMMA
  • Allergic reaction to the balloon or the dye solution within the balloon
  • Increased risk of adjacent level fractures due to osteoporosis

Furthermore, this surgery cannot improve fractures that are several years old or help with poor posture. Instead, it should only be done on people who have had an acute compression fracture or a non-healing persistent compression fracture with noted swelling in the bone.

Our goal is to make this procedure as pleasant and non-invasive as possible to enhance your experience. In this way, we at SCS strive to create the kind of care that helps our Charleston patients recover as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

Does My Insurance Cover This Procedure?

Yes, Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that has been around for decades. In time, it has only gotten less invasive and better tolerated. This is the result of smaller incisions and more precise and robust instrumentation. 

Medicare and Medicare replacement plans cover Kyphoplasty. The same is also true of commercial insurance such as BCBS, United Healthcare, Cigna, Humana, etc. There is a tremendous cost savings to you, the patient, as well as the insurance company, if this procedure can be done in the office procedure room. While this is our preference as well, we will help determine the safest location for your procedure. That may be the office procedure room, the surgery center, or the hospital setting. There are advantages and disadvantages to each of those locations and we will review that with you during our face to face clinic visit.