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Balloon Kyphoplasty

These fractures of the vertebrae are most often seen in the elderly population and are usually the result of severe weakening of the bone from Osteoporosis. The underlying Osteoporosis often results in delayed healing or lack of healing of the fracture. Osteoporosis can also be seen in younger individuals, as a result of long-term use of steroids used to treat diseases such as asthma, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis. Compression fractures may also occur in vertebra weakened by cancer.

Using special x-ray imaging as a guide, the radiologist inserts a specialized needle through the skin into the damaged vertebra on each side. Through the outer needle, channels are drilled within the bone. KyphX balloons, or bone tamps, are then placed into each channel. The balloons and are slowly inflated, moving the collapsed vertebra to try and restore the bone to its original shape. Once the desired result is achieved, the balloons are deflated and the cavities that have been created within the bone are then filled with bone cement, which has the consistency of toothpaste.

The bone cement hardens over 10-20 minutes, stabilizing the fractured vertebra. It is possible to treat more than one fractured vertebra at the same operation, if necessary.