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It’s no question that a fracture or break in one of your spine’s vertebrae can be painful and impact your daily life tremendously when unable to move freely. Luckily, kyphoplasty is a procedure designed to stop the pain, stabilize the bone, and restore lost vertebral height caused by the injury. Continue reading to learn about what the procedure entails, who would be a candidate, and the recovery process. 

Candidates for Kyphoplasty

Kyphoplasty is used to treat spinal compression fractures, which occur in the spinal vertebrae when weakened by osteoporosis or due to trauma such as falling or a  car accident. Compression fractures typically occur in the thoracic region of the spine, which includes the T1 through T12 vertebrae, but may also occur in the lumbar spine, or L1 through L5.

The GSMC team recommends performing a kyphoplasty within 8 weeks of the fracture taking place for the best results when it comes to restoring the spine’s original height.

Performing Kyphoplasty

Patients are given moderate sedation (similar to a colonoscopy) during the 20-minute procedure. After instilling local anesthesia, a small stab incision is made in the patient’s back through which a narrow tube is carefully placed into the broken vertebral body using x-ray guidance. Once properly placed, a cavity is created to allow proper placement of a cement-like material called polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) as well as to restore the natural height and shape of the vertebral body. This medical cement hardens very quickly to internally cast and stabilize the bone within minutes.

Kyphoplasty Recovery

Kyphoplasty is an outpatient procedure and when completed, the patient is monitored in the post-anesthesia care unit for approximately 20-30 minutes. Once a patient is awake enough to get dressed, eat, and drink they are discharged home. Many patients start to feel improvement as they are leaving the recovery room; the overwhelming majority of patients will feel significant relief within 24 hours of the procedure. 

While normal activities, with exception to driving, can be resumed immediately, our team recommends avoiding strenuous activities for at least 6 weeks. 

Risks and Complications of Kyphoplasty

As with any medical procedure, there are always risks and complications to consider. For the most part, complications are rare due to our highly skilled and experienced doctors who perform this procedure on a weekly basis.

Specifically for kyphoplasty, complications may include:

  • Nerve damage or a spinal cord injury from malpositioned instruments placed in the back
  • Nerve injury or spinal cord compression from leaking of the PMMA 
  • Allergic reaction to polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA)

Think you may be a candidate for kyphoplasty? for Call to set up your consultation and begin the recovery process today: 1-888-376-2661


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As the spinal cord is part of the central nervous system, its proper function is critical to an individual’s quality of life. The central nervous system controls the body’s sensory information (pressure, touch, temperature, pain) which travels in established pathways into the spinal cord and onto the brain where the signals are interpreted into the different experiences. When the spinal cord is damaged, it can lead to a variety of symptoms including: loss of movement, difficulty breathing, loss of bowel/bladder control, and many others. Continue reading to learn when a spinal cord stimulator may be necessary to correct a patient’s condition and allow them to live pain-free.

What is a Spinal Cord Stimulator?

A spinal cord stimulator (SCS) is a small surgically implanted device which transmits electrical pulses that disrupt the transmission of pain signals reducing or eliminating pain from almost any part of the body. It is believed that electric pulses prevent pain signals from being received from the brain. The device itself consists of thin wires (the electrodes) and a small, pacemaker-like battery(the generator). Once implanted, the individual can control the electrical signals from an external wireless programmer to adjust the stimulation, switch between programs, and turn it on/off to alleviate the pain.

What Is a Spinal Cord Stimulator?

What is Spinal Cord Stimulation Used For?

Spinal cord stimulators can be an option for patients with a myriad of conditions, including but not limited to:

  • Spinal stenosis 
  • Neuropathy
  • Pinched nerves
  • Post-knee replacement pain
  • Post-hip replacement pain
  • Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)
  • Failed back surgery syndrome
  • Shingles pain
  • Peripheral vascular disease

Spinal Cord Stimulator Surgery

If you’re a candidate for a spinal cord stimulator, it’s important to understand that there are 2 separate procedures you must undergo; the trial and the implantation. 

Spinal Cord Stimulator Trial

  • Before the device is permanently placed, the GSMC team will implant a temporary device for three to ten days  to see if it can help to alleviate the long-term pain. During the implantation process, the electrode is placed through a needle into the spine and the generator is taped to the back so that no incisions are made. During the trial period, the patient will be able to test the device for improved pain relief and function. If the patient notes significant improvement, they may elect to proceed with the implanted device. the.

Spinal Cord Stimulator Implantation

  • After the trial is complete and if the patient notes significant improvement in pain relief and function, we will move forward with the second procedure which is to implant the device underneath the skin. During the procedure, the trial electrodes are replaced with sterile electrodes and are carefully placed along the spinal cord. The generator is then placed underneath the skin located above  the buttocks.  

Both procedures are done under light sedation and patient’s are able to return home the same day.

Types of Spinal Cord Stimulators

When it comes to types of spinal cord stimulators, the GSMC team recommends conventional and rechargeable generators to their patients. The main difference being that with a rechargeable stimulator, you can recharge it without another surgery versus a conventional stimulator requiring another surgery. Rechargeable systems tend to last longer, but must be charged 1-2 times a week (noninvasive) while conventional stimulators have no ongoing upkeep, but its battery needs to be replaced sooner.

There are a number of different manufacturers of the device, each having proprietary software to deliver the energy in unique ways. Some stimulators give patients a tingling feeling while others feel nothing other than pain relief. The majority of the systems that our team uses are also MRI compatible as well.

Spinal Cord Stimulator Recovery

Once the implantation is complete, patients are discharged the same day, typically within an hour after their procedure has finished.  In the days following, it is common to feel pain around the incision sites, with the full healing taking between 2-4 weeks. During that time, we recommend taking it easy and avoiding any activities that may aggravate the areas. However, often 1 week after the surgery patients are able to return to work and go about their normal activities.

Interested in learning if you’re a candidate for a spinal cord stimulator? Call to set up your consultation today: 1-888-376-2661


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