Kyphoplasty VS Non-Surgical Management: Reginald Ajakwe, MD

Aug 9, 2019 | Blog, Pain Management

Dr. Reginald Ajakwe recently treated a patient with severe back pain at Comprehensive Spine & Pain Physicians. The patient presented with Vertebral Compression Fractures (Spinal Fracture) at several levels, the most painful being at Lumbar 3 and Lumbar 4. The patient was in a severe amount of pain & could barely move. A kyphoplasty was performed at L3 & L4, the entire procedure taking about an hour to complete.

Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive surgery used to treat vertebral compression fractures; or fractures of the bone in the spine. Vertebral Compression Fractures (VCFs) are primarily caused by weakend bone due to Osteoporosis. Compression fractures typically occur in the thoracic and lumbar regions of the spine.

The goals of the kyphoplasty procedure are to reduce pain from the fracture, stabilize the vertebra, and restore the vertebra back to its normal height. The procedure itself is minimally-invasive; meaning the treating physician will only make a small incision for the procedure.  After the initial incision is made, the physician gains access to the vertebral body & places the instrumentation near the fracture. Orthopedic balloons are then inflated in attempts to restore the anatomical height of the fractured vertebrae, in addition to creating a cavity within the bone. The balloons are then deflated and PMMA bone cement is injected into the cavity to create an internal cast in the affected vertebrae. After a few minutes, the cement will be fully hardened, instruments removed, the small incision closed, & the procedure complete! Most patients leave day-of the procedure.

Did you know patients treated with kyphoplasty versus non-surgical management have 3 times greater pain relief at one month, 4 times greater improvement in quality of life at one month, and 5 fewer days of restricted activity at one month-with an average of 136 days of gained activity over 24 months (data obtained from Boonen J Bone Miner Res 2011 and TillmanFREE 24 Clinical Study Report 2010)?