What is Balloon Kyphoplasty?
Balloon Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive, orthopedic treatment that stabilizes compression fractures of the spine caused by osteoporosis. Kyphoplasty reduces pain and provides correction of a deformity. Studies also report the following benefits:
- Correction of vertebral body deformity.
- Significant reduction in back pain.
- Significant improvement in quality of life.
- Significant improvement in mobility, including the ability to perform daily activities such as walking, hobbies, and work.
- Significant reduction in the number of days per month that a patient remains in bed.
- Low complication rate.
What causes compression fractures?
Osteoporosis is the predominant cause of compression fractures of the spine. Osteoporosis is called a “silent disease,” because bone loss occurs without symptoms. People may not know they have osteoporosis until their bones become so weak that a simple strain, twist of the body, bump or fall causes a bone fracture. Fractures may occur in the hip, wrist, ribs or elsewhere, but the most common site of fracture is in the vertebrae, the bones that make up the spinal column.
Who is at risk?
Factors that increase the likelihood of developing osteoporosis include:
- Being female
- Being thin or having a small frame
- Advanced age
- A family history of osteoporosis
- Being postmenopausal
- Abnormal absence of menstrual periods
- Anorexia or bulimia
- A diet low in calcium
- Long-term use of medications such as cortico-steroids or anticonvulsants
- Lack of exercise
- Excessive use of alcohol
Balloon Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive treatment in which orthopedic balloons are used to gently elevate the bone fragments in an attempt to return them to the correct position. Before the procedure, you will have diagnostic studies, such as X-Rays and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), to determine the exact location of the fracture.
How the Balloon Works
Balloon Kyphoplasty is performed with sedation—the Interventional Radiologist at California Imaging Institute will decide which option is appropriate for you. Typically, the procedure takes less than one hour per fracture treated and may require an overnight hospital stay. With a hollow instrument, the spine specialist creates a small pathway into the fractured bone. A small, orthopedic balloon is guided through the instrument into the vertebra. The incision site is approximately 1/8 inch in length.
The cavity is filled with a special cement to support the surrounding bone and prevent further collapse. Once the vertebra is in the correct position, the balloon is deflated and removed. This process creates a void (cavity) within the vertebral body. The cement forms an internal cast that holds the vertebra in place. Generally, the procedure is done on both sides of the vertebral body.
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Medication Instructions for Kyphoplasty
- Most people can continue to take their prescribed medications.
- If you are a diabetic and take insulin, ask your doctor about modifying your insulin dose for the day of your procedure. If you are taking the oral anti-diabetic medicine Glucophage (Metformin), Plavix, or Lovenox, you may need to discontinue use for up to 48 hours following the procedure. Consult with your doctor about blood sugar control during this period.
- If you take a blood thinner such as Aspirin, Coumadin, Plavix, or Lovenox, you must tell your doctor so that it can be stopped. If you do not know if your medications are blood thinners, please consult your physician at least one week prior to your exam.
- Please bring a list of your current medications and dosages on the day of your exam.
Do not eat or drink after midnight on the night before your procedure. Do not smoke for at least 24 hours prior to your angiogram.
If you are allergic to contrast (X-Ray dye) or iodine, let your doctor know as soon as possible. If possible, let the interventional radiologist know about your allergy a few days before your angiogram.