Patients' Guide To
Spinal Fractures & Kyphoplasty

Benefits of Balloon Kyphoplasty

If you are a candidate for spinal fracture surgery to treat a vertebral compression fracture (VCF), your doctor or spine specialist may recommend a procedure called balloon kyphoplasty. Balloon kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive spine surgery performed to treat VCFs. Minimally invasive procedures potentially offer many benefits for patients. Before you decide if kyphoplasty is right for you, take time to understand how its possible benefits stack up against the procedure’s potential risks.
Surgical patient in hospital bed smiling.Generally, you will spend about an hour in the recovery room after the procedure. Photo Source: primary benefits of balloon kyphoplasty include:

  • A shorter surgical time; the procedure usually takes about a half hour per spinal level.
  • The kyphoplasty procedure can often be performed with local anesthesia. However, some patients, depending on their general health and severity of the spinal fracture(s) may require general anesthesia.
  • Patients are able to walk and return to their normal activities soon after surgery.
  • Kyphoplasty may be performed in an ambulatory surgery center (ASC), hospital, or outpatient spine surgery center.
  • Most patients are discharged home the same day as their kyphoplasty procedure. An overnight hospital stay may be recommended for some patients depending on many factors, such as coexisting medical problems (eg, cardiovascular risks).

Length of Stay and Recovery
Your doctor will give you specific post-operative instructions, but generally, you will spend about an hour in the recovery room after the procedure. There, a nurse diligently monitors your vital signs, which includes back pain.

Most patients are discharged from the ASC or hospital within 24 hours of their balloon kyphoplasty procedure. At your surgical follow-up appointment, your doctor will assess your recovery progress to determine if you should limit certain activities (eg, lifting). Many patients report significant improvements in pain, mobility and the ability to perform daily tasks—so you may not need to make any adjustments to your physical activity level.

Are You a Candidate for Kyphoplasty?
Not everyone who has sustained a vertebral compression fracture is a candidate for balloon kyphoplasty treatment. Some types of fractures can be serious in terms of potentially or directly affecting the spinal canal, spinal cord and/or nerve roots.

It is possible for a VCF or other type of fracture (eg, burst) to cause neurological dysfunction (eg, myelopathy) if spinal nerve structures are compressed or injured. In some cases, the surgeon may recommend a spinal decompression surgery, such as a laminotomy or laminectomy. These surgical procedures remove bone, disc or other tissue compressing the spinal cord and/or nerve roots, thus decompressing those anatomical structures. Furthermore, decompression may help preserve and protect the spinal cord and nerves to ensure neurological function.

Of course, you don’t want to make the decision about whether to have this procedure based on benefits alone. You also need to understand the potential risks of balloon kyphoplasty. As with any surgery, there are potential limitations and complications associated this procedure. Your doctor will explain all of the benefits and risks as they relate to you to help keep you as informed about your treatment options.


Updated on: 05/15/19
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Balloon Kyphoplasty Video
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Balloon Kyphoplasty Video

Balloon kyphoplasty video about vertebral compression fractures depicts a patient’s story and how this minimally invasive spine surgery can relieve back pain and improve mobility and quality of life.
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