Most fans of the Dallas Cowboys cringed in pain last month when their quarterback Tony Romo suffered another broken bone in his back. Two years ago, Romo fractured two transverse processes, the small projections off the side of the vertebrae that attach the spine to muscles and ligaments. This time, Romo has a compression fracture, which is a vertebra fracture. This is weight-bearing part of the bone and typically a more painful fracture.
Kyphoplasty is a possible treatment for compression fractures of the vertebrae. We perform this procedure at Advanced Radiology to relieve the pain of a compression fracture, to stabilize the affected bones and to restore the proper height of the fractured vertebrae.
Performed under a local anesthetic, a kyphoplasty is an out-patient, minimally-invasive surgery. Using X-ray technology to guide the procedure, we insert a small, narrow tube into the fractured vertebra. Through the tube, the surgeon inserts and inflates a small balloon inside the vertebra to create the full space inside, restoring the vertebra to full size. The balloon is removed, and a fast-drying cement-like paste is injected into the space to hold the bone’s shape. It‘s like a cast, only inside the bone. With the bone supported by the cast, bearing weight does not cause as much pain while the bone heals.
Many of our compression fracture patients suffer their breaks due to osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a bone disease characterized by weak or brittle bones. The term literally means “porous bone.” When viewed microscopically, a weak bone will look porous, in other words not dense like stronger bone.
Since the vertebrae are weight-bearing bones, it’s easy to see how someone with osteoporosis is a candidate for a compression fracture. If a vertebra weakens, it can fracture or collapse under weight or break more easily with trauma. If that happens, a kyphoplasty is an excellent procedure to strengthen the weight-bearing area for healing while relieving the pain.
If you or someone you know has suffered a compression fracture, please contact us at 855-201-1519 for a consultation about a kyphoplasty.