Frequently Asked Questions – Balloon Kyphoplasty

What can happen if spinal fractures aren’t diagnosed and treated?

It’s important to diagnose and treat spinal fractures early. Better results can typically be achieved when a fracture is treated sooner rather than later. Kyphotic deformity (a rounded or humped back) and progressive bone weakness increase your risk for additional fractures.

In cases of pronounced kyphosis, your ability to breathe, walk, eat, or sleep properly may be adversely affected. Consult with your doctor to determine your condition and the appropriate treatment.

What can a patient reasonably expect after undergoing balloon kyphoplasty?

Published studies report a marked reduction in pain, sometimes within hours of the procedure.1 balloon kyphoplasty has been shown to improve mobility and enable patients to return to everyday activities such as walking, bending, and lifting, with significantly less pain than they had prior to the procedure.

Patients report improved mental health, vitality, social function, and emotional well-being.

Can a spinal fracture that occurred a long time ago be treated with balloon kyphoplasty?

Age of a spinal fracture and treatment success varies from patient to patient. Each patient is unique. The specific treatment options and the timing of those treatments should be discussed with your doctor.

Can any doctor perform balloon kyphoplasty?

Generally, doctors performing balloon kyphoplasty first attend a special training course taught by doctors who have extensive experience with the procedure. Doctors trained to do the procedure include orthopaedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, interventional neuroradiologists, and interventional radiologists. In addition, pain-management specialists who specialise in treating the spine can perform balloon kyphoplasty.

Doctors who treat patients with osteoporosis (general practitioners, rheumatologists, endocrinologists, physical medicine practitioners, gynaecologists, and geriatricians) or cancer (oncologists) can refer spinal fracture patients to spine specialists trained to do the procedure.

After balloon kyphoplasty, the patient should return to the referring doctor for medical management of the underlying disorder, for example, osteoporosis.

References

  1. Theodorou DJ, Theodorou SJ, Duncan T, Garfin SR, Wong W. Percutaneous balloon kyphoplasty for the correction of spinal deformity in painful vertebral compression fractures. Clin Imaging. 2002;26(1):1-5.

Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.

Last updated: 27 Sep 2010

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