Kyphoplasty in Portland

Help for Compression Fractures in the Spine

Kyphoplasty is a minor surgery to help a vertebral compression fracture, which is a broken bone in your spine. The goal of kyphoplasty is to hold the fractured area steady to relieve your pain and help prevent more fractures.

Your healthcare provider will help you decide if kyphoplasty is right for your particular injury.

Adventist Health Portland and Gresham Imaging Center are excited to bring our patients a safe and easy way to improve the pain caused by spinal compression fractures.

Call Diagnostic Imaging at (503) 251-6137 for help with scheduling your kyphoplasty.

You can also have your health care provider fax your referral to 503-261-6058.

Who benefits from kyphoplasty

Every year in the U.S., people suffer more than 700,000 compression fractures in the bones — the vertebrae — that make up the spine. A compression fracture is when a vertebra breaks and crushes down, like when you press on a sponge.

This kind of fracture causes a lot of pain. The compressed vertebra can even cause you to stand shorter. If you’ve found out you have a vertebral compression fracture, you already know how uncomfortable it is.

Believe it or not, most vertebral compression fractures aren’t caused by traumatic injuries. As we age, our bones often become more fragile — a condition known as osteoporosis. As bones become more brittle, they are vulnerable to breaks like compression fractures.

Certain types of cancer and injuries can also cause this type of fracture in the spine, though these are less common causes.

Because osteoporosis generally affects more elderly people, vertebral compression fractures can cause additional problems if they’re not treated. When you reduce your normal activities because of the pain, you can get complications like heart and lung issues. You could also have problems with your muscles and bones. Your chance of catching another illness can go up as well.

The other illnesses can even become life-threatening. That’s one of the problems with waiting for the body to heal these kinds of fractures naturally. You have to stay pretty still for six to eight weeks — and that’s hard on the rest of your body as well as on your lifestyle.

And, unfortunately, having this type of spinal fracture puts you at risk for having more, especially if it’s left untreated. This is how kyphoplasty helps. With just small incisions, this minor surgery can make a major difference in your pain in a very short amount of time.

How kyphoplasty works

Before you have kyphoplasty, your healthcare provider will have you get medical images of your spine so you both will know exactly where you have a compression fracture.

When it’s time for your kyphoplasty, a specially trained doctor will make sure you can’t feel pain from the procedure. You’ll either be numbed in the area with local anesthesia or be asleep with general anesthesia, depending on what your doctor thinks is best for you.

Then your doctor will make a small cut — about a half inch — and use a hollow instrument to reach the fractured vertebra. To help him or her get to just the right spot, kyphoplasty is guided with medical imaging called fluoroscopy. With this type of imaging, your doctor will be able to see your bones and the instrument on a live video.

Once the instrument reaches the vertebra and makes a narrow path to your injury, your doctor will slip a small balloon through the hollow instrument and into the fractured area.

The balloon will be carefully filled to raise your broken vertebra and put it back into its natural position. Then the balloon is deflated and removed, leaving a hollow space in your vertebra. Your doctor will use the hollow instrument to fill that hollow area with a special cement to make the fractured area solid and prevent it from collapsing again. It’s like having a cast on the inside of your broken bone.

Most of the time, this procedure will be done on both sides of the damaged vertebra, so you’ll have two small incisions. Kyphoplasty typical takes about an hour for each vertebra treated.

What to expect after kyphoplasty

After this surgery, most people only have to spend about an hour in recovery. Some patients may benefit from a longer stay — your doctor will let you know.

We will be checking how much your back pain has improved while you’re recovering. You’ll also be encouraged to walk and move around.

Many of our patients feel a lot less pain in a really short amount of time. People who’ve had kyphoplasty have also found they have better mobility and can enjoy their normal daily activities again.

If you and your healthcare provider have decided kyphoplasty will be helpful in your situation, Adventist Health and Gresham Imaging Center are ready to guide you through this procedure and into a future of less pain and a better quality of life.