Surgery: What to Expect – Balloon Kyphoplasty

Before the Procedure

Before the procedure, you will have a medical exam and undergo imaging studies, such as x-rays, to determine the precise location of the fracture.

During the Procedure

Under x-ray guidance, a narrow pathway is made into the fractured bone using a hollow instrument. A small orthopaedic balloon is guided through the hollow instrument into the vertebral body. The incision site is approximately 1 centimetre in length.

Typically, two balloons are used, one on each side of the vertebral body, to better support the bone as it moves back into position and increase the likelihood of deformity correction.

Next, the balloons are carefully inflated in an attempt to raise the collapsed vertebral body and return it to its correct anatomical position. Inflation of the balloons moves the soft, inner bone against the wall of the vertebral body, creating a cavity (space) inside the vertebra.

The cavity is the space created by moving the broken bone with the balloons. Bone cement is then deposited into the cavity to stabilise the fracture.

Once the vertebral body is in the correct position, the balloons are deflated and removed. The cavity is filled with thick bone cement to stabilise the fracture. The bone cement forms an internal cast that holds the vertebral body in place.

Balloon kyphoplasty takes about an hour per fracture level treated. It can be done on an inpatient or outpatient basis, depending on your overall state of health.

After the Procedure

After the procedure, you will likely be transferred to the recovery room for observation.

Patients are typically discharged from the hospital the same day, although sometimes a longer stay is required.

When you go home, you can expect to resume your normal activities, subject to your doctor’s instructions.

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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