Kyphoplasty procedures are performed to treat compression fractures in the vertebrae or spine. Kyphoplasty is commonly used for patients with osteoporosis (weakening of the bones) that has caused the vertebrae to compress or collapse, causing pain or a hunched posture.
How Kyphoplasty Works
During a kyphoplasty procedure, the doctor places a narrow tube in the back. Using X-ray images, the doctor then inserts a special balloon through the tube and into the vertebrae, then gently and carefully inflates it creating a cavity. This is done to return the vertebrae to a more normal position. Then, the balloon is removed and the doctor fills the cavity with a cement-like material that quickly hardens, stabilizing the bone.
The entire procedure will probably take less than an hour, though it may last longer if more than one vertebrae are treated.
Recovery from Kyphoplasty
For some patients, pain relief will be immediate. For others, pain will be reduced or eliminated within two days of the procedure. Patients can return to their normal daily activities immediately, although strenuous exertion, such as heavy lifting, should be avoided for 4-6 weeks. Ask your surgeon about any activities that you should avoid following the procedure.
Your doctor may prescribe certain vitamins, minerals and medications to help strengthen your bones and prevent additional spinal fractures.
Benefits of Kyphoplasty
- Kyphoplasty may increase a patient’s functional abilities and allow returning to the previous level of activity without any form of physical therapy or rehabilitation.
- In most cases, Kyphoplasty is successful at alleviating pain caused by a vertebral compression fracture; many patients feel significant relief almost immediately following the procedure. Many patients even become symptom-free.
- Kyphoplasty is a safe and effective procedure.
- No surgical incision is necessary – only a small nick in the skin that does not even need stitches.
What Are Potential Complications of Kyphoplasty?
Complications that may result from kyphoplasty procedures are not common, but may include:
- Increased back pain
- Tingling, numbness, or weakness because of nerve damage
- Allergic reactions to chemicals used during X-rays to help the doctor put the balloon in the right place
- Filler leaking out of position