Overview & Procedure
Kyphoplasty, commonly referred to as “vertebral augmentation,” is a minimally invasive procedure for individuals suffering from painful spinal compression fractures. Spinal compression fractures often do not heal on their own and can cause serious health problems like strenuous breathing, extreme pain, limited mobility, depression, and, on rare occasions, premature death if left untreated. Kyphoplasty is ideal for treating compression fractures because of the low risk for complication, short procedure time, and rapid bone stabilization.
Kyphoplasty is performed while the patient is under sedation and involves inserting and gently inflating a small balloon inside damaged vertebrae to deliver a cement-like substance. The intent is to restore bone height and reduce the risk of spinal deformity. This substance “sets” the fragile fracture, allowing the soft inner bone of the vertebral body to strengthen and heal. The procedure generally takes less than an hour and allows patients to get back to their normal day-to-day activities shortly after.
Immediately after the procedure, patients are sent to a separate room to recover. During this time, the patient’s vitals are monitored for any signs of an adverse reaction. Later that day, the patient will go home after they are given self-care instructions. An adult family member or friend will need to drive the patient home. It is recommended the patient be monitored 24 hours after receiving IV sedation and that they lay flat as much as possible for the remainder of the day. A prescription for pain medication or other medications will be sent to the pharmacy following the procedure to be filled right away. An appointment should be scheduled 7 days post-procedure. Kyphoplasty procedures are considered safe, but complications may include fever, infection, bleeding, increased pain, or leg weakness. If the patient experiences these symptoms, they should report to the Southwest Spine and Pain Care Center. If it is after hours, they should report to the ER.