Dr. McFarland Performs Out Patient Kyphoplasty – A First for the Chesapeake Peninsula

Orthopaedic & Spine Center

Another First from OSC – Congratulations to Dr. McFarland for performing an in-office kyphoplasty at OSC on July 11!

Kyphoplasty is used to treat painful compression fractures of the spine. Bones in your spine can fracture or collapse due to bone loss. There are many causes of bone loss, including osteoporosis, menopause, cancer, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and hyperthyroidism. When there is significant loss or collapse, a spinal fracture is likely to occur. These spinal fractures will cause back pain that lasts for more than several days. If you have pain that lasts for more than a week, consult OSC to help you determine what is causing the pain. We usually start with conservative treatment, which can include rest and pain medication. If the pain continues or worsens, we will discuss other options for treating you.

One of the minimally-invasive options is kyphoplasty. This procedure is typically done in a hospital setting, but because of recent developments, including coverage by insurance companies and more sophisticated surgical kits, we are now able to do kyphoplasty in our office.  The biggest difference between procedures in the office vs. in the hospital is the way the surgeon is able to enter and numb the fractured area.  According to Dr. McFarland, a medical device company has recently released kyphoplasty surgical kits that provide special blocks for anesthetizing the area and much smaller needles than have been used in the past. Dr. McFarland states that this equipment eliminates (for the majority of people) the need for putting the patient under anesthesia, which makes it easy for a physician to do this procedure in an office setting.

Once the physician enters and numbs the area, the procedure is completed in exactly the same way it is in a hospital setting. A deflated balloon is inserted into the fracture, inflated to bring the fractured bones back into anatomically correct position and then a special cement-like material is injected into the fracture. This “cement” quickly hardens and provides a stable framework for the fractured bone to heal, relieving pain and restoring function.

At OSC, we have two fluoroscopy procedure rooms which provide the same sterile environment and tools as a hospital operating room where a kyphoplasty would have been completed previously. There are many benefits to having this procedure done in the office setting, such as:

  1. In a hospital setting, a patient is typically under general anesthesia. In an office setting, the patient is completely awake. This makes the procedure more amenable to elderly patients or people who have negative reactions to anesthesia.  There is also no recovery time needed for the patient to sufficiently wake-up from the anesthesia in order to be sent home, as in a hospital procedure.
  2. The patient is in the office for approximately 90 minutes; the procedure itself takes less than 30 minutes. The patient will spend 4-6 hours, or more, in the hospital to have a kyphoplasty.
  3. In an office, the cost is thousands of dollars less PER PERSON, so the financial burden is significantly less to the patient, insurer and health care system as whole.
  4. Medicare and other insurers are covering the procedure. The patient may have some financial responsibility, depending on their insurance coverage, but it will be less than if the patient went to the hospital for the same procedure.

According to Dr. McFarland, both he and Dr. Sureja have more patients scheduled for an in-office kyphoplasty in the coming weeks. If you are suffering from a spinal fracture and are considering kyphoplasty, we invite you to consult with Dr. McFarland or Dr. Sureja to determine if this procedure is right for you.