What is Balloon Kyphoplasty?
Balloon Kyphoplasty is a treatment options in cases with spine problems. It is a minimally invasive treatment option (minimally invasive spine surgery, spinal fusion surgery), usually recommended in cases with spinal fractures due to osteoporosis, benign lesions or even cancer. This medical procedure tries to restore the normal function and anatomy of the vertebral column, by inserting orthopedic balloons, which gently elevates the fractured vertebrae, attempting to return it to its normal position.
Balloon Kyphoplasty Procedure?
Before this medical procedure is performed a total check – up and a good evaluation of the medical condition is necessary. Balloon kyphoplasty can be performed under general or local anesthesia, always depending from your general health condition. It is up to you and your doctor to decide if this medical procedure is recommended for you. The procedure itself requires up to one hour per fracture level treated.
First, this procedure requires creation of a narrow pathway into the fractured vertebrae. After this pathway is created, an orthopedic balloon is gently inserted into the vertebral body. One balloon is inserted on each side of the vertebral body, so a total of two balloons per vertebrae. This will help support the bone better. After the balloons are inserted into their place where they should be located, they are gently inflated in order to elevate the fractured vertebrae and try to return them to their normal position, as they were before the fracture. These orthopedic balloons create a cavity inside of the vertebral body, which is filled with bone cement. The bone cement dries very quickly and stabilizes the fracture. Once the vertebral body is in its correct position, these balloons are deflated and removed.
After this medical procedure is performed, the signs and symptoms are relieved. Most of the patients return to their normal daily activities within a few days.
The benefits of balloon kyphoplasty are well known. Patients who have been treated with this method have had faster improvements and relief of their symptoms after the first month of surgery. The quality of life is also improved, as the improvement was greater and the back function is restored almost too normal, than compared to non – surgical treatment options for acute vertebral compression fractures.
Balloon Kyphoplasty Risks and Complications
Like any other surgical method or any other treatment method, balloon kyphoplasty has its own risks and possible complications. However, complications after this procedure are very rare.
As mentioned before this is a minimally invasive surgical method (laparoscopic surgery). Complications usually include infections or leakage of the bone cement to the surrounding tissues like the muscles. Cement leakage to the blood vessels can damage them. Cement leakage to the nerves that have their roots into the spinal cord, can damage them, sometimes even leading to paralysis. Other more serious complications of this procedure include: embolism, stroke, heart attack, cardiac arrest, etc.