Patient with a hurt back standing in front of a doctor explaining a balloon kyphoplasty procedure

Treatment Spotlight: Balloon Kyphoplasty

At Alliance Spine and Pain Centers, we specialize in many progressive pain relief solutions, including balloon kyphoplasty. We’re here to provide thorough answers to your questions.

Who is a balloon kyphoplasty candidate?

A minimally invasive, outpatient procedure for people with compression fractures of the vertebra (generally caused by osteoporosis or spinal tumor), balloon kyphoplasty can help alleviate pain and improve mobility. 

There are some risk factors, however, including 

  • Being a female over 70 years of age
  • Weighing less than 125lbs
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Chronic steroid use
  • Chronic alcohol use

Please thoroughly discuss these risks with your doctor and our specialists to ensure balloon kyphoplasty is safe for you. 

What does the procedure involve?

Light sedation may be administered prior to the procedure, but in all cases a local anesthetic is injected into the immediate area. Using fluoroscopic (X-ray) guidance, a needle is inserted into the fractured vertebra. An orthopedic balloon is then inserted through the needle and inflated to restore vertebral height. Next, bone cement (polymethyl methacrylate, or PMMA) is injected into to fill the cavity created by the balloon. Imaging tests are conducted throughout the process to ensure the cement has properly filled the space. When it hardens, the cement becomes a fixative for the fracture by stabilizing the bone and preventing further collapse.

If treatment is only needed for one vertebra, the procedure should take approximately one hour. Afterward, our staff will observe you for 15-30 minutes to ensure you are stable and safe to be released.

What is the recovery time?

First, you’ll be required to have a driver to leave the office. Once home you’ll need a full hour of supine bed rest. Another four hours bed rest is recommended following the initial period, but it isn’t necessary to remain flat on your back for the entirety. 

Most people experience significant pain relief within 24 hours after the procedure. You can expect to gradually resume your normal daily activities after 48 hours with the proper amount of rest. In the meantime, ice packs may help relieve any residual soreness or swelling you might experience. 

To help strengthen your back muscles and minimize recovery time, New Health Advisor recommends therapeutic exercises, including:

  • Static glutes
  • Ankle pumps
  • Transabdominal and quadriceps settling

If you think you might be a candidate for balloon kyphoplasty, we encourage you to discuss the potential benefits and risks with your doctor.

If you have additional questions about balloon kyphoplasty or would like to make an appointment, call 770-929-9033 or schedule online.