Balloon Kyphoplasty surgery is a minimally
invasive surgical procedure to treat vertebral
compression fractures caused by weakened bones.
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What are Vertebral
Vertebral compression fractures, or VCF's,
occur when bones in the spine are broken. They
can occur from trauma, such as a car accident or
fall, but are most commonly the result of
osteoporosis which causes weakened bones. VCF's
can also occur from other conditions that cause
weakened bones, such as certain cancers or long
term steroid use.
Compression fractures occur most commonly in
the mid to lower back due to the weight bearing
load of the spine. This load can cause vertebrae
to become crushed when bone weakness is present.
When the vertebra is crushed, it fractures and
falls on top of the vertebra below it. Symptoms
range from severe pain to no pain at all.
Compression fractures can lead to progressive
spinal deformity. When multiple fractures occur,
a condition known as Kyphosis, or dowager's
hump, causes the back to become rounded and bent
forward. This forward curvature of the spine can
affect quality of life making it more difficult
to breathe, eat, walk, or sleep.
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a degenerative condition
associated with aging that causes loss of bone
mass. This leads to weakened and brittle bones
that break easily by minimal
trauma or by no trauma at all. Osteoporosis
is most common in post-menopausal women but can
also occur in older men or patients on long term
Balloon Kyphoplasty Surgery is an elective
surgery to treat painful compression fractures
of the spine that have not responded to
conservative treatment measures such as rest,
medication, or back bracing.
Indications for Balloon Kyphoplasty surgery
- Vertebral Compression Fractures due to
- Vertebral Compression fractures caused
by weakened bones in patients with diagnoses
such as Metastatic cancer, kidney disease,
lymphoma, and multiple myeloma.
- Severe pain and deformity related to a
vertebral fracture that is unrelieved by
conservative treatments such as pain
medications and bracing.
Evaluating the source of back pain is
critical in determining your options for relief
of the pain and the location of where to perform
Your surgeon will perform the following:
- Medical History
- Physical Examination
Diagnostic Studies to confirm a vertebral
fracture and its cause may include:
- X-rays: a form of electromagnetic
radiation that is used to take pictures of
- MRI: magnetic and radio waves are used
to create a computer image of soft tissue
such as nerves and ligaments.
- CT Scan: This test creates 3D images
from multiple x-rays and shows your
physician spinal structures not seen on
- Bone Density Test: A test used to
diagnose osteoporosis using special x-rays
to determine bone density or strength.
Balloon Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive
surgical procedure to alleviate severe pain and
disability resulting from vertebral compression
The ultimate goal of the surgery is to:
- Alleviate or reduce the patient's pain
- Restore the fractured vertebra to its
- Improve spine functionality
- Restore normal alignment of the spine
The surgery is performed under sterile
conditions in the operating room with the
patient under general or local anesthesia and
lying face down on the operating table.
- Your surgeon will make 2 very small
incisions over the fracture site.
- A balloon catheter is inserted through
the incisions and into the body of the
- The balloons are inflated with a liquid,
under guidance by fluoroscopic x-ray, inside
the collapsed vertebra. This creates a
cavity and helps restore the vertebra to its
pre-fracture height and alignment.
- The surgeon then deflates and removes
the balloons leaving an open cavity.
- Bone cement is then inserted through the
catheters into the open cavity.
- Once the cement is carefully placed, the
catheters are removed and the cement will
harden in minutes.
Many patients feel immediate pain relief
following Balloon Kyphoplasty surgery. Others
may take a few days or weeks before showing
- You will be allowed to get up and walk
once you awaken.
- Normally you will stay in the hospital
overnight, however some patients go home the
- Pain medication will be given to make
you comfortable for the first few days.
- You will be restricted from heavy
lifting or strenuous activities for the
first 6 weeks.
- A postoperative rehabilitation program
may be prescribed by your doctor to
strengthen spinal muscles after two weeks.
If you have been
diagnosed with Osteoporosis, it is important for
you to follow up with your physician for medical
treatment of your condition.
Risks and complications
- As with any major surgery there are
potential risks involved. The decision to
proceed with the surgery is made because the
advantages of surgery outweigh the potential
- It is important that you are informed of
these risks before the surgery takes place.
Complications can be medical (general) or
specific to spinal surgery.
Medical complications include those of the
anesthetic and your general well being. Almost
any medical condition can occur so this list is
not complete. Complications include
- Allergic reactions to medications
- Blood loss requiring transfusion with
its low risk of disease transmission
- Heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure,
pneumonia, bladder infections
- Complications from nerve blocks such as
infection or nerve damage
- Serious medical problems can lead to
ongoing health concerns, prolonged
hospitalization, or rarely death.
Specific complications of Balloon Kyphoplasty
- Nerve damage or spinal cord injury from
- Nerve damage or spinal cord injury from
- Deep or superficial wound infection