Failed Kyphoplasty

Model of crushed vertebrae

Pain After Treatment for Spinal Compression Fractures

Both age and injury can cause some of the bone in the spine to develop fractures. This is especially common as a result of osteoporosis, as the weakened vertebrae bone has a tendency to crack under pressure. These cracks can lead to nerve compression, and possibly chronic back pain.

Kyphoplasty is one possible treatment for both osteoporosis and injury related spinal fractures. It involves creating space within the bone using a balloon, and then injecting a bone-like cement into the fractured vertebrae in an effort to stabilize and strengthen it.

What Happens When Pain Comes Back After Kyphoplasty?

Some patients have found that Kyphoplasty may help to reduce back and leg pain. But other patients find that they either still have chronic back pain, or some type of pain comes back that is severe enough to continue to disable their life.

Since the goal of Kyphoplasty is to restore height to the bone and reduce pain, any recurrence of that pain – even if it is a different type of discomfort – implies that the procedure failed to successfully improve quality of life. If this occurs, it is known as failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS), or – more specifically – failed Kyphoplasty.

When a patient undergoes Kyphoplasty and still seems to have back or leg pain after treatment, the first step is determining the cause of the pain. As an elective surgery, one of the most common causes of pain after kyphoplasty is simply misdiagnosis, where the patient was not the right candidate for the procedure. Other possible causes of pain include:

  • New Fractures
  • Leak of Acrylic Cement
  • Infection
  • Progressive Kyphosis
  • Peri-cement Bone Resorption

Kyphoplasty is not a preventative procedure, so one of the simplest reasons for failure is the development of new fractures in other areas of the spine that have also been weakened by osteoporosis or injury. In some cases the kyphoplasty may also simply have been ineffective. Not all patients that undergo kyphoplasty experience pain reduction.

Treatment For Failed Kyphoplasty

Often with failed kyphoplasty, a conservative approach is recommended. Vertebral fractures often respond well to medications – better than other types of spinal injuries and back pain – and may also be effective when combined with physical therapy, exercise, back braces, and other non-surgical treatments.

But a thorough examination is still necessary to discover and/or rule out any structural issues that may have contributed to the development of pain after Kyphoplasty. If any structural issues are found, a revision surgery may be recommended. Treating known structural issues may help the patient experience a significant reduction in back pain, provided the procedures are completed correctly.

Here at Spine Center Atlanta, Drs. James Chappuis and Julio Petilon and their spine care team are noted for their decades of experience working specifically with failed back surgery syndrome patients and recurring pain after spinal treatments. We are often a destination for patients nationally that have been struggling with pain after kyphoplasty, and are interested in diagnosis and treatment from advanced spinal treatment experts.

For more information about failed kyphoplasty, or to schedule an examination to determine the appropriate treatment, please call Spine Center Atlanta today at 404-351-5812, and our team will make sure, whether surgical or non-surgical, that you are given the best possible treatment for your failed back surgery syndrome.

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