A kyphoplasty is a procedure used to stabilise and, sometimes, restore vertebral height following a compression fracture of the main vertebral body. These fractures are often caused by osteoporosis but may also be the result of a trauma or less commonly an abnormality in the bone itself. Mr Cass would have discussed the likely cause of your fracture with you before planning any procedure.
During the surgery, which is done with you asleep, a tiny incision is made through which a needle is passed. X-rays are used to ensure that this is positioned correctly. A special balloon is passed through the tube into the vertebrae and then carefully inflated. This can elevate the fracture, allowing a return to normal position, whilst creating a cavity inside the vertebrae. The balloon is then removed and the cavity is filled with a special bone cement (PMMA). This hardens rapidly, thus stabilising the bone.
This procedure can be done at multiple levels if required. It will usually involve a one night stay in hospital.
The reduction in pain for most patients is almost immediate, and within 48 hours, normal activity can be resumed, although any heavy lifting or strenuous activities should be avoided for 6 weeks. Mr Cass will discuss the specifics of your situation with you before the procedure.
If the fracture is a result of osteoporosis, it would also usual that you begin treatment to prevent further bone loss.
The procedure does carry small risks. These include leaking of the cement into the area of the nerves (spinal canal) or into the small veins around the fractured vertebra. Other risks include infection, further fractures of other vertebra in the area and failure for your symptoms to settle as expected. Mr Cass will discuss these risks in greater detail when explaining the procedure.