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Balloon Kyphoplasty for Vertebral Wedging

The bones of the spine (vertebrae) are likely to suffer osteoporosis (wear and tear of bones) due to many factors like aging and calcium deficiency. This sometimes results in a 'compression fracture' of the body vertebra. In such case the vertebral body becomes smaller and presses on the nerves coming out on both sides. This results in one or a combination of symptoms like constant and sometimes unbearable back pain, limitations in ability to do everyday activities and poor quality of life like extended bed rest.

Fracture in any part of body heals with new bone formation. Due to age and osteoporosis, the process of new bone formation becomes weak. This does not allow proper healing of vertebral fracture and it becomes a constant source of pain. No matter whatever amount of calcium and rest we give, at times this fracture ends up in to non healing vertebral wedging (osteonecrosis).

With advances in spine sciences, the patients with compressed fracture of vertebra can now be treated with minimally invasive surgical procedures. Balloon Kyphoplasty is one such curative method that's relatively more effective and safe in treating painful vertebral compression fractures.

Balloon Kyphoplasty method is similar to balloon angioplasty where a balloon opens out blocked arteries of the heart. Here first we insert a needle and then a balloon into the fractured and compressed vertebra. The balloon is inflated till the compressed, wedge shaped vertebral body changes to normal cylindrical shape. The balloon is then removed and the vacant space in the vertebra is filled with bone cement. Thus the vertebra becomes normal in shape and the patient gets permanent relief from pain caused by fractured vertebra.

Kyphoplasty is a likely treatment option for patients experiencing painful symptoms or spinal deformities due to osteoporotic compression fractures. It is done under local anesthesia and conscious sedation, and is a short and safe procedure. It is beneficial to old age patients, cancer patients with involvement of spine (multiple myeloma) and young people with traumatic fracture of vertebrae.

Compared to non-surgical care, Kyphoplasty is known to have better outcomes on the patients in terms of reduction in pain, improvement in quality of life, function and mobility.

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