Balloon kyphoplasty is a technique used to treat compression fractures by correcting bone deformities in order to relieve pain. Recent clinical trial results show that those treated with balloon kyphoplasty have lessened pain, increased quality of life, increased mobility in comparison to those receiving non-surgical treatment, restored height, and decreased use of pain medications. Balloon kyphoplasty is a safe and effective treatment for compression fractures.
Balloon kyphoplasty is typically performed by either a neurosurgeon or an orthopedic surgeon. Local or general anesthesia is provided for maximum comfort. While lying face down, a thorough cleaning of the area is performed and a numbing medication is injected. Real-time x-ray imaging is used to guide the surgeon during the procedure.
A small tube with a balloon attached to the end of it is inserted through a small incision in the back. Once in the proper location, the balloon is inflated in order to separate the area of spinal compression. The balloon is then removed and a specialized bone cement mixture is then placed into the area. The cement hardens in approximately ten minutes. The difference between vertobroplasty (another surgical procedure to correct compression fractures) and kyphoplasty is the use of the balloon. The balloon not only ensures the vertebra height is correct to obtain maximum pain relief but also creates a pocket for the cement.
This procedure normally takes approximately an hour, and the individual is normally released on the same day. However, occasionally, an overnight stay is required.
Although the back may be sore at the incision site after the procedure, the possibility of walking an hour or so after the procedure is high. Many individuals feel immediate pain relief. The physician should discuss proper aftercare when the procedure is completed. Vitamins, minerals, and medications are often prescribed to strengthen bones and prevent future bone loss. It is imperative for individuals to follow their physician's care plan and keep all follow-up appointments.
As with any medical procedure, a discussion with the physician about the risks and benefits of the procedure is important. Certain risks associated with balloon kyphoplasty include, but are not limited to: infection, increased pain, weakness, bleeding, cement leakage, and allergic reactions.