Is Kyphosis Surgery Right For You?
If you have been diagnosed with kyphosis, you are most likely looking for ways to treat it and alleviate the pain. Your doctor has probably put you on some form of medication to treat the pain associated with kyphosis. Your doctor will also want you to participate in physical therapy or see a chiropractor to help straighten out your spine. If none of these treatments work, kyphosis surgery might be your last option. Surgery isn’t usually recommended to treat kyphosis unless you are in severe pain, the curve in your spine is getting worse and causing other neurological problems such as numbness or weakness or if you have some sort of physical deformity due to the curve of your spine.
The most common types of kyphosis surgery are osteotomy and spinal instrumentation and fusion. An osteotomy is preformed by cutting bone to realign your spine and correct any deformities you might have had. Spinal instrumentation and fusion kyphosis surgery is generally performed in conjunction with osteotomy surgery. In this phase of the surgery, bone graft is inserted in your spine to stimulate bone growth. Small wires, cables, screws, rods or plates will be used to increase the stability of your spine as the bones fuse together while healing. These devices won’t be visible on the outside of your body.
Recovery for this type of surgery is painful and can take some time. For the first few days, you will have a needle in your arm and be hooked up to a Patient Controlled Analgesia machine. This machine will help you determine when pain medication should be given. Some form of physical therapy will be required during recovery to help strengthen your spine.
Balloon kyphoplasty is another type of kyphosis surgery. This type of surgery is used if a spinal fracture is causing your kyphosis. A special orthopedic balloon is inserted in the spot of the fracture and then is inflated to realign the spine back into the proper position. It is then removed, and surgical cement is inserted in that spot to support the spine and keep it from collapsing in the future. Recovery time for this type of kyphosis surgery is shorter than it is for an osteotomy and/or spinal instrumentation and fusion surgery.
As with any surgery, there are risks you should be aware of. Some of these risks are, but not limited to, injury to your spinal cord and nerves surrounding your spinal cord, infection, severe pain, physical impairment or the possibility that your condition won’t be corrected at all and only continue to get worse. All risks and complications should be discussed to the fullest extent with your doctor prior to agreeing to have kyphosis surgery performed.
In spite of the risks associated with kyphosis surgery, there are plenty of people who have been helped. Kyphosis surgery is a last resort option but shouldn’t be completely ruled out if you want to correct the curve of your spine and any deformities the curve might have caused.