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What are Vertebral Compression Fractures

Osteoporosis (bone disease) is the primary cause of vertebral compression fractures. Other causes include trauma such as a fall or motor vehicle accident and some types of cancers affecting the spinal vertebrae.

What is Balloon Kyphoplasty?

Balloon kyphoplasty is a spine surgery that relieves back pain caused by a vertebral compression fracture. The aim of balloon kyphoplasty is to relieve pain, stabilize the fracture and restore the vertebral body height.

Indications of Balloon Kyphoplasty

Your doctor recommends balloon kyphoplasty if you have severe pain and deformity that is not relieved by non-surgical treatment modes including rest, pain medications and braces.

Balloon Kyphoplasty Procedure

The surgery is performed under general anesthesia. During the procedure, you will lie face down on the operating table. A small incision is made in the back through which a narrow tube is inserted into the compressed vertebra under the guidance of live X-ray. Then a special balloon is inserted through this tube and carefully inflated. This elevates the fracture and restores the vertebra to its original height. The balloon is then deflated and removed, leaving behind an open cavity. The cavity is filled with bone cement with the help of miniature surgical instruments. The cement hardens within a few minutes and stabilizes the bone.

What to Expect after Balloon Kyphoplasty

You may experience significant pain relief following surgery and will be allowed to get up and walk. Your doctor will prescribe pain medication if necessary and recommend a rehabilitation program to strengthen your spinal muscles. You should avoid strenuous activities for at least 6 weeks.

Risks and Complications of Balloon Kyphoplasty

As with any surgery, balloon kyphoplasty may be associated with certain complications such as infection, nerve or spinal cord injury and cement particles entering the blood or spinal fluid.

Spine Osteotomy

Disease Overview

Severe spinal deformity may occur in conditions such as Scheuermann's kyphosis, iatrogenic flat back, post-traumatic, neuromuscular, congenital and degenerative disorders, and ankylosing spondylitis. Severe deformity causes symptoms that may include a subjective sense of imbalance, leaning forward (stooping), early fatigue, intractable pain, and difficulty in a horizontal gaze.

What is Spine Osteotomy?

Spine osteotomy is a surgical procedure in which a section of the spinal bone is cut and removed to allow for correction of spinal malalignment.

Indications of Spine Osteotomy

Spine osteotomy is usually suggested for the correction of severe, rigid and fixed spinal deformities, when non-surgical treatments do not relieve symptoms such as numbness, weakness or pain due to nerve compression, or when the deformity is worsening over time. A mild or flexible deformity is usually corrected through positioning and instrumentation.

Types of Spine Osteotomy

Spine osteotomies can be broadly divided into three main types. The type of osteotomy performed depends on both the location of the spinal deformity and extent of correction required. A spinal fusion with instrumentation may also be performed along with spine osteotomy to stabilize the spine and prevent further curvature. The three main types of osteotomy are:

Smith-Petersen osteotomy (SPO): SPO is recommended for relatively small corrections (approximately 10-20° for each level). In this procedure, a section of bone is removed from the back of the spine, which is causing the spine to lean more toward the back. The posterior ligament and facet joints are also removed from this area. An anterior bone graft is not used in this procedure as motion through the front portion of the spine or the disks are required for correction. SPO may be performed at one or multiple locations along the spine to restore lordosis.
Pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO): PSO is generally recommended for corrections of approximately 30°, mainly at the lumbar level. PSO involves all three front, middle and back columns of the spine. It involves the removal of back element and facet joints like a SPO and a portion of the vertebral body along with the pedicles. PSO allows for more correction of the lordosis than SPO.
Vertebral column resection osteotomy (VCR): VCR involves the complete removal of a single or multiple vertebral bodies. It allows for maximum correction, which can be achieved with any spinal osteotomy. As VCR introduces a large defect in the spine, spinal fusion is also performed over these levels for reconstruction. Spinal fusion may involve the use of a structural autograft, structural allograft or metal cage. Initially, VCR was performed through a combined front and back approach, but now it can also be performed through only a back approach.

Outcomes of Spine Osteotomy

A spine osteotomy procedure significantly improves the symptoms of a spinal abnormality. It reduces pain and restores balance so that you can stand erect without the need to flex your hips or knees. It also improves gross appearance (cosmesis) and even makes a horizontal gaze possible. Functional improvement of the visceral organs may also occur.