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Balloon Kyphoplasty Can Give Pain Relief, Greater Mobility to Those Affected By Spinal Fracture

Dr. Leonard Rudolf has introduced a surgical procedure to Alice Peck Memorial Hospital that can show dramatic results for patients suffering spinal fractures from osteoporosis and cancer. Balloon kyphoplasty is a procedure designed to reduce back pain, correct spinal deformities, and improve a patient’s quality of life. It is minimally invasive and has a 90% success rate.

More than 10 million Americans have osteoporosis, according to the National Institute on Aging. The condition is more common in women than men. Osteoporosis causes the bones of the spine to weaken and often collapse, resulting in spinal fractures, which affect more than 700,000 patients a year. Traditional treatment for spinal fracture includes bed rest, medication and back bracing. These therapies may help to decrease the patient’s pain over time, but bed rest and back bracing may also interfere with the patient’s daily life, making it harder for them to keep their remaining bones strong with exercise or engage in hobbies and activities that are important to them. More importantly, these traditional therapies do not stabilize the fracture or correct any deformities that may occur from the fractures (such as the familiar ‘hunched back’ many older women experience). Untreated spinal deformities can result in chronic pain and debilitation, reduced lung function and an increased risk of other bone fractures.

Balloon kyphoplasty can significantly reduce back pain and repair the broken bone of a spinal fracture, using orthopedic balloons that are inflated to lift the fractured bone and return it to the correct position. The balloon is then removed and the surgeon fills the cavity with flexible cement. In many cases, the patient begins to feel immediate relief from pain after surgery. In general, balloon kyphoplasty takes about one hour per fracture treated. The procedure is performed with anesthesia and most patients can go home the same day.

Dr. Rudolf reports that he has treated many compression fractures with an excellent success rate. Worldwide, over 360,000 spinal fractures have been treated with balloon kyphoplasty.

Dr. Leonard Rudolf joined APD’s medical staff in 1987 and has introduced many procedures to APD, including knee and hip replacements and total ankle replacement. He is Board Certified in Orthopedics. His office in Lebanon can be reached at (603) 448-6344.