What is balloon kyphoplasty?
Balloon kyphoplasty is recommended for patients who have
fractures−also called vertebral compression fractures−who struggle with ongoing pain. Most spinal fractures are due to osteopenia/osteoporosis, which is a disease that causes bones to become fragile and easily break. This disease causes more than 700,000 spinal fractures in the US each year, which is more than hip and wrist fractures combined. Balloon kyphoplasty is also recommended for patients with painful spinal fractures due to cancer and injuries resulting in broken bones in the spine.
What are the benefits of balloon kyphoplasty?
Most spinal fracture treatments simply manage pain through bed rest, pain medication and back braces. Unlike nonsurgical treatments for back pain, balloon kyphoplasty actually repairs the fractured vertebra and improves the spinal deformity. Therefore, patients tend to see quicker, more effective improvements in quality of life, mobility and back pain relief.
What is involved in the procedure?
Balloon kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive outpatient surgery that generally has a low complication rate. In this procedure, doctors make a small incision in the back and insert a very small balloon into the fractured vertebra. The balloon is carefully inflated, allowing the fractured area to be elevated and returned to a more normal position. Then, the balloon is deflated and removed, leaving space to fill the cavity with a special cement-like material. As the cement sets, it stabilizes the bone and reduces vertebral deformity.
What is the recovery process like?
Most people will be able to go home the same day as their surgery. While immediate pain relief is experienced for some, others have reported elimination or at least a reduction of pain within a couple days. At the discretion of your doctor, you can slowly return to regular activities after 24 hours.