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Kyphoplasty & Vertebroplasty

Kyphon for Spinal Fractures

Osteoporosis causes more than 700,000 spinal fractures each year in the U.S. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, this is more than twice the annual number of hip fractures.

Spinal fractures can also be caused by cancer, the most common being multiple myeloma, breast, lung and prostate. According to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, the majority of patients with multiple myeloma – some 70 to 95% — have progressive metastatic bone disease particularly in the spine, which increases the risk of fractures.

Some spinal fractures may collapse immediately while others collapse over time. Left untreated, one fracture can lead to subsequent fractures, often resulting in a condition called kyphosis, or rounded back. Kyphosis, signified by the dowager’s hump, compresses the chest and abdominal cavity, resulting in serious negative health consequences.

The Balloon Kyphoplasty Procedure

  • Using a needle and tube, the spine specialist creates a small pathway into the fractured bone. A small, orthopaedic balloon is guided through the tube into the vertebra. The incision site is approximately 1 cm in length.
  • The balloon is carefully inflated in an attempt to raise the collapsed vertebra and return it to its normal position.
  • Inflation of the balloon creates a void (cavity) in the vertebral body.
  • Once the vertebra is in the correct position, the balloon is deflated and removed.
  • The cavity is filled with bone cement forming an “internal cast” to support the surrounding bone and prevent further collapse.
  • Generally, the procedure is done on both sides of the vertebral body.

The Balloon Kyphoplasty procedure typically takes about one hour per fracture and may require an overnight hospital stay. The procedure can be done using either local or general anesthesia; the surgeon will determine the most appropriate method, based on the patient’s overall condition.

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In most cases, Medicare provides coverage for Balloon Kyphoplasty. Other insurance plans often also cover the procedure.

Although the complication rate with KYPHON® Balloon Kyphoplasty has been demonstrated to be low, as with most surgical procedures, there are risks associated with the procedure, including serious complications. This procedure is not for everyone. A prescription is required. Please consult your physician for a full discussion of risks and whether this procedure is right for you.

Since its founding in 1994, Kyphon has been dedicated to improving patient quality of life by revolutionizing the practice of medicine. A recognized global leader in restoring spinal function with minimally invasive therapies, Kyphon maintains its commitment to ongoing research, innovative product development and advanced professional and patient education. Kyphon was acquired by Medtronic, Inc. in November 2007 and is now part of Medtronic’s Spinal and Biologics business.

Balloon Kyphoplasty Outcomes

Balloon Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive, orthopaedic treatment that stabilizes spinal fractures, thereby reducing pain and correcting vertebral deformity. Studies report the following benefits:

  • Correction of vertebral body deformity
  • Significant reduction in back pain
  • Significant improvement in quality of life
  • Significant improvement in mobility, including the ability to perform daily activities such as walking, hobbies and work
  • Significant reduction in the number of days per month that a patient remains in bed
  • Low complication rate (<1%)

Vertebroplasty

Vertebroplasty is a new, image-guided procedure performed by Interventional Radiologists as a treatment for painful spinal compression fractures and for some types of spinal cancer.

The procedure involves placing a needle into a fractured vertebral body and injecting a special type of bone cement. Many patients experience a dramatic decrease in their pain.

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Approximately 700,000 vertebral, or spinal bone, fractures occur each year — usually in women over the age of 60. Researchers estimate that at least 25 percent of women and a somewhat smaller percentage of men over the age of 50 will suffer one or more spinal fractures. Younger people also suffer these fractures, particularly those whose bones have become fragile due to the long-term use of steroids or other drugs to treat a variety of diseases such as lupus, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Of particular concern are spinal fractures caused by a progressive weakening of the bone — a condition called osteoporosis. The pain and loss of movement that often accompany bone fractures of the spine are perhaps the most feared and debilitating side effects of osteoporosis. For many people with osteoporosis, a spinal fracture means severely limited activity, constant pain and a serious reduction in the quality of their lives.

Fractures of the vertebrae have traditionally been much more difficult to manage than broken bones in the hip, wrist or elsewhere. These broken bones can often be successfully treated with surgery. But because surgery on the spine is extremely difficult and risky, it has typically not been used to treat vertebral fractures associated with osteoporosis except as a last resort. Until recently, reduced activity and pain medications, many of which cause problematic side effects, or invasive (and often unsuccessful) back surgery were virtually the only treatments available. Today, however, there is a safe, non-surgical interventional radiology treatment called vertebroplasty (ver-TEE-bro-plasty) that has been shown to be extremely effective in reducing or eliminating the pain caused by spinal fractures.

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