A breakthrough procedure called Balloon Kyphoplasty is now available to UK patients suffering from spinal fractures.
Balloon Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive spine procedure used to treat patients with spinal fractures, which can occur as a complication of osteoporosis, cancer or trauma.Spinal fractures, also referred to as vertebral compression fractures (VCFs), are the most common type of fractures resulting from osteoporosis, accounting for more than all hip and wrist fractures combined.
In Balloon Kyphoplasty, a cement-like material is injected directly into the fractured bone or vertebrae. This stabilizes the fracture and provides direct pain relief in many cases. Prior to injecting the material, two specialized balloons are inserted and gently inflated inside the fractured vertebrae.
The goal of this step is to restore height to the bone thus reducing deformity of the spine. Most patients return to their normal daily activities after the procedure.According to Mr. John Yeh, Consultant Neurosurgeon, Royal London Hospital, the development of Balloon Kyphoplasty is a significant advance in the treatment of VCFs. “Vertebral compression fractures can be a very painful and very debilitating consequence of osteoporosis, resulting in a significant deterioration of a patient’s quality of life,” said Mr. Yeh. “Balloon Kyphoplasty is a new therapeutic option that offers a safe and effective treatment with a low complication rate that significantly increases the patient’s quality of life, physical functioning and mobility.”
Mr. Yeh continued, “With proper diagnosis and treatment of the spinal fracture, and in conjunction with long-term medical management of the underlying osteoporosis, spinal fracture sufferers can significantly improve their ability to perform normal activities of daily living and enjoy an overall improvement in their quality of life. However, early screening and appropriate medical management is vital.”
The consequences of untreated spinal fractures can be devastating. Once a patient suffers one vertebral compression fracture, the risk of suffering a second fracture increases five-fold. Left unattended, many fractures can result in an exaggerated rounded curvature of the spine, called kyphosis, or dowager’s hump.
Professor Cyrus Cooper, Professor of Rheumatology at the University of Southampton, and Chairman of the National Osteoporosis Society said, “Spinal fractures can be acutely painful and incapacitating – making waking, eating, sleeping and even breathing painful and difficult. Long term, this condition can be fatal in some patients. Diagnosing such fractures is the first step toward providing patients with hope for treatment.
Professor Cooper added, “It is important that all doctors are now made aware of this new technology for treating patients with VCF, however not all patients will be suitable for the procedure.” Alarmingly, an estimated two-thirds of all spinal fractures go undiagnosed or untreated due to difficulty in determining the cause of symptoms or sometimes the absence of acute pain, leading some to call osteoporosis the “silent disease.” Traditional treatments for patients with spinal fractures include bed rest, medication and back bracing.
While these therapies may help to decrease a patient’s pain over time, they do not treat the deformity related to osteoporotic fractures. Chronic back pain is a common complication of these fractures. Balloon Kyphoplasty reduces and stabilises the fracture in a controlled way, to correct vertebral body deformity and to provide sustained pain relief and improved quality of life.
The procedure, which was developed by Kyphon Inc., is performed by Orthopaedic surgeons, Neurosurgeons and Interventional Radiologists. First performed in 1998, Balloon Kyphoplasty has been used to treat over 250,000 patients and 300,000 spinal fractures worldwide. Physicians have reported significant patient outcomes including height restoration of the vertebral body, improved and sustained mental health, vitality, social function and emotional health, and decreased dependence on others.
The procedure can also reduce the need for narcotic pain medication and the number of doctor visits related to back pain problems. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (http://www.nice.org.uk ) endorses the use of Balloon Kyphoplasty for the treatment of spinal fractures, indicating that current evidence on the safety and efficacy of Balloon Kyphoplasty appears to support the use of this procedure, provided that normal arrangements are in place for consent, audit, and clinical governance.
If you are interested in receiving further information on Balloon Kyphoplasty, please log onto http://www.kyphon-eu.co.uk ENDS Graphics available on request Note to Editor:Since its founding in 1994, Kyphon has been dedicated to improving patient quality of life through revolutionizing the practice of medicine. Kyphon's mission is to be the recognized global leader in restoring spinal function through minimally invasive therapies.Kyphon Inc. is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California and has over 1,000 employees worldwide. Kyphon Europe BVBA is wholly owned by Kyphon Inc. and is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, serving areas outside USA.
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