Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive surgical procedure used for the management of compression fractures in the spine caused by weakened bones.
The goal of kyphoplasty is to:
- Alleviate or reduce pain
- Improve spine mobility
- Rectify deformity of the spine
The surgery is performed under sterile conditions in the operating room with the patient under general or local anesthesia. Your surgeon will make small incisions, on either side of your back. Through these incisions, a narrow tube is introduced to the fractured vertebra under X-ray guidance. Through the tube, a special balloon called a bone tamp is introduced into the vertebra. Once the balloon is in place, it is gently inflated to re-establish the pre-fracture vertebral body height. The balloon is removed and the space is filled with orthopedic cement, also known as polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA). The cement hardens in a few minutes, stabilizing the bone. This procedure restores the normal height of the vertebrae and minimizes the deformity. After the procedure, the incisions are closed. The entire procedure takes about an hour, for each vertebra.
Most patients are discharged home on the same day. You should have a companion to drive you home. The incision needs to be kept clean and dry. Avoid heavy lifting or strenuous activities that can increase the propensity of a fracture in osteoporotic patients. Closely adhere to the post-operative instructions you receive at the time of discharge. In case of any complications or medical emergency, contact your neurosurgeon immediately.
Some of the benefits of kyphoplasty include:
- It is a minimally invasive procedure with smaller incisions and faster recovery
- Provides immediate pain relief
- Reduced hospital stay
- Patients can resume their normal daily activities faster
- Prevents future spinal fractures
- Spinal bracing is not necessary
- Prevents the onset or worsening of severe spinal deformity
Risks and Complications
As with any major surgery there may be certain potential risks and complications associated with balloon kyphoplasty which include bleeding, infection, bone cement leakage, damage to the spinal cord or spinal nerves, increased back pain, and numbness and tingling.