Balloon kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive surgery for the treatment of vertebral compression fractures, a type of spinal fracture that usually occurs due to weakness of the bone from osteoporosis. It can also occur due to infection, benign tumors or cancer.
The fracture occurs in the vertebral body, a cylindrical block of bone towards the front of each vertebra. The vertebral bodies help support the spine but can develop fractures with everyday activities such as lifting if they become weak. This can result in pain and a spinal deformity called kyphosis caused by collapse of one or more vertebral bodies resulting in a forward hunch posture.
Balloon kyphoplasty helps restore the lost height of the vertebral body and stabilizes the fracture. This helps relieve back or neck pain and regain motion.
Balloon kyphoplasty is indicated for:
- Pain due to vertebral compression fractures not relieved by nonsurgical treatments such as bracing, bed rest and medications
- Correction of spine deformity due to kyphosis
- Older individuals with vertebral compression fractures for whom immobilization or spine surgery is not recommended.
Balloon kyphoplasty is not recommended if the fracture is associated with infection or if more extensive spine surgery is necessary to ensure stability.
The procedure is performed under local or general anesthesia and you will lie in a face down position on the operating table.
- Your surgeon will make two small incisions, each around 1 cm long over the affected vertebra.
- Using a needle and cannula, small pathways are created to reach each side of the vertebra.
- Two tiny balloons are introduced into the vertebral body on either side through the cannulas.
- The balloons are inflated so that the collapsed vertebral body is restored to its normal shape and position.
- The balloons are then deflated and removed from the spine.
- Inflation of the balloons creates a cavity in the vertebral body.
- After removal of the balloons, the surgeon fills the cavity with bone cement to form a supportive framework that can act as an internal cast and prevent further collapse of the vertebral column.
- After injecting the bone cement, the cannulas and needles are carefully removed and the incision is sutured closed.
After the procedure, you may feel some pain and discomfort. This may be minimized through injections of local anesthetic in your spine. You will also receive medication to ease your pain and keep you comfortable
Risks and Complications
Though balloon kyphoplasty is a relatively safe procedure, it may be associated with certain risks such as:
- Blood clots
- Leakage of bone cement, that may lead to injury to blood vessels and surrounding tissues
- Another spinal fracture
Benefits of Balloon Kyphoplasty
Advantages of balloon kyphoplasty include:
- Quick recovery
- Improved posture by restoring height of the vertebral bodies
- Reduction in back and/or neck pain
- Improved mobility
- Better quality of life
Balloon kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive surgery for the treatment of spinal compression fractures. It involves introduction of balloons into the fractured vertebra which are inflated to restore normal vertebral height. The vertebral bone is then stabilized with the injection of bone cement. This minimally invasive procedure is associated with a quick recovery and can improve your quality of life.