Spinal Fractures & Compression

Treatment for Compression Fractures in Los Angeles

At the Neurological Associates-The Interventional Group, we offer comprehensive treatment options for compression fractures of the spine caused by osteoporosis, tumors, or traumatic injury. The treatments offered in our West Los Angeles center include kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty. 

Schedule a consultation with one of our specialists to learn if kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty in Los Angeles can help you.

What is Kyphoplasty?

Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive surgery that is performed to treat painful compression fractures of the spine resulting from osteoporosis or a tumor. It is not used for those fractures that can heal on their own. This percutaneous procedure is also used to reduce pain and functional disability due to vertebral fractures occurred by osteoporosis. It works by stabilizing fractured bone by using a cement-like substance. This may lead to a reduction of the spinal deformity caused by the fracture as well as reduction of symptoms such as pain or numbness, thus increasing the quality of life of patients.

Who is a Candidate for Los Angeles Kyphoplasty?

Patients with compression fractures of the spine leading to reduced vertebral height can be treated by this method. Height restoration is better achieved when the procedure is carried out within eight weeks of the occurrence of the fracture, and delay may cause further deformity of the spine and reduce the chances of a successful kyphoplasty procedure.

How does Kyphoplasty Work?

Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure. Prior to the procedure routine blood panels are done to assess the general fitness of the patient. After that, one of our neurologists uses MRI and/or an X-ray to locate the exact position of the vertebral fracture. During surgery, a small incision is made into the patient’s back for inserting a narrow tube. The tube is inserted into the correct position of the involved vertebra through a guided imaging technique called fluoroscopy, which ensures the accuracy of the procedure. After this, a balloon is inserted through the tube into the vertebrae, and inflated carefully using X-ray images. Inflating the balloon elevates the fracture which brings the pieces into a normal position, and also makes the soft inner bone dense, which creates a cavity inside the vertebrae. The balloon is then removed with no stitches and the cavity is filled under low pressure with a cement-like material called polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA). Once the cement-like material is inserted into the fractured vertebra, it becomes hard making the broken bone stable.

The procedure takes about one hour for each vertebra and patients may spend one day in the hospital.

How does Kyphoplasty work?

This procedure may help to reduce back pain, avoid an increase in spinal deformation, prevent further collapse of fracture, and restore normal spinal alignment. In a recent study, 96.9% of patients exhibited significant and immediate pain improvement after having kyphoplasty treatment.

What are the Risks for Kyphoplasty?

Complications related to Kyphoplasty are relatively limited as it is an imaging-based surgical procedure. In rare instances, spinal cord injury or nerve damage may occur due to the penetration of a needle in the patient’s back. Leakage of the cement into the vein may cause neurological symptoms such as weakness and numbness in some cases. A solution used to see the X-ray image may also cause allergic reactions. One of our specialists will review potential risks prior to your treatment.

What to Expect after Kyphoplasty?

In some patients, some degree of pain relief or increased functionality might be noticed soon after the treatment. Further improvement of the functionalities will be gradually noted in the upcoming days following the procedure. Patients can return to their normal activities, excluding strenuous activities or heavy lifting which should be avoided, after a few weeks. Our neurologists will suggest effective post operative care along with certain minerals and vitamins to prevent further spinal fractures.

What is Vertebroplasty?

Vertebroplasty is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that stabilizes spinal fractures caused by vertebral compression from osteoporosis or a traumatic injury. The procedure is designed to stop or reduce the pain caused by the fracture, increase mobility and function and prevent progressive spinal deformity or damage.

Using imaging guidance a needle is injected into the fractured bone and a low viscosity medical-grade cement mixture is slowly injected into the vertebra. One or more injections may be performed depending on how the cement mixture fills the vertebra. This outpatient procedure generally takes one to two hours and the cement itself hardens and stabilizes the fracture within 15 minutes. Most report significant pain relief within a few hours of the procedure.

How Does Vertebroplasty Work?

Injecting the cement mixture into the vertebra may reduce pain, and prevent further collapse of the vertebra. This also prevents the height loss and spine curvature that is commonly seen as a result of osteoporosis. Within hours of the procedure, there may be improvements in back pain, function and mobility may occur. Vertebroplasty may provide long-term pain relief and has a low complication rate, as demonstrated in multiple studies.

Who is a Candidate for Los Angeles Vertebroplasty?

Typically the best candidates for vertebroplasty have recently suffered a compression fracture, have moderate to severe back pain and a non-healing vertebral compression fracture. Osteoporosis causes most compression fractures followed by traumatic injury. Vertebroplasty is generally not helpful for chronic back pain or disc problems.

To determine whether vertebroplasty is the right treatment option, the doctor will order X-rays of the spine, and other imaging tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or a bone scan. These tests help to determine where the fractures are and how recently they occurred.

What is the Success Rate and Risks?

The most recent studies report that vertebroplasty has a 90% and higher success rates for relieving pain associated with vertebral compression fractures. Benefits include:

Complications from vertobroplasty are rare and only affect – 3 % of patients with osteoporotic compression fractures. The success rate potential complications depend on the health and other factors of each patient. One of our specialists will discuss these risks and complications with you during your consultation.