kyphoplasty procedure

What to Expect After a Balloon Kyphoplasty Procedure

There are about 500,000 people in the USA who suffer from some kind of spinal injury every year.

Doctors can help spinal injuries that involve compression fractures and other breaks through a form of treatment called kyphoplasty. This procedure involves a hollow needle, a balloon, and a cement mixture. It sounds frightening but it’s really a wonder of modern medicine.

Keep reading to learn more about a balloon kyphoplasty procedure and what to expect after you get one.

What Is a Balloon Kyphoplasty Procedure?

When one of your vertebrae breaks or fractures, the pieces of bone can start rubbing against each other when you move. This can be painful and make it hard to move around.

Kyphoplasty can treat these types of fractures, including other things like compression fractures, spine tumors, or old injuries that aren’t healing. This procedure uses a cement/bone strengthening material to treat these kinds of afflictions. The cement takes away the pain by stabilizing the damaged spine.

The balloon makes room for the mixture in the spine. The doctor inserts the balloon, injects the cement mixture, and removes the balloon again.

Let’s take a closer look at the process of kyphoplasty:

  • Using an X-ray, the surgeon inserts a hollow needle through your muscles and into the damaged bone.
  • They place a deflated balloon into the needle and inflate it to make space in the bone for the cement mixture.
  • The surgeon places the mixture into the open space and removes the balloon and needle.
  • They then bandage the incision point.

This is a minimally invasive procedure, but it does take some preparation. Here’s what you’ll need to do before your kyphoplasty.

How to Prepare for Your Procedure

You should stop taking non-steroid anti-inflammatories a week before your surgery. This includes common painkillers like Ibuprofen, Naprosyn, Advil, Aleve, etc. If you aren’t sure about a type of medication, ask your doctor if it’s okay before you take it.

Don’t eat or drink anything after midnight the evening before your surgery. If your doctor has approved a type of medication, you can take this with a small sip of water. Other than that, you shouldn’t have any food or beverages of any kind.

Make sure you arrive at your appointment at least an hour early. This will make sure you get there on time if you’re running late or hit any traffic. The surgeon may have to cancel your appointment if you show up late.

What to Expect After a Balloon Kyphoplasty Procedure

The expected recovery time for your balloon can change depending on your circumstances and your habits.

For example, using tobacco of any kind has a serious, negative effect on your recovery. Anyone who uses tobacco must stop using from two weeks before the procedure to two weeks after the procedure.

Here’s a list of things you can expect after your balloon kyphoplasty procedure.

How Long Will I Stay in the Hospital?

Again, the procedure can be different for each person. While one kyphoplasty patient may be able to return home the same day as their procedure, others might have to stay several days in the hospital before the surgeon discharges them.

In most cases, you shouldn’t be there any longer than two days.

Do I Need Physical Therapy?

Most surgeons refer you to a physical therapist at your first post-surgical visit. While in therapy, you should avoid bending or twisting your back.

If the exercises in physical therapy make you feel pain, you should stop doing them right away. Wait for your next visit with your neurosurgical provider to talk about the pain and what to do about it.

How Long Should My Incision Site Hurt?

Any pain you experience should be mild and don’t expect to feel all of it at your incision site. Most of the pain you feel will be in your back, ribs, and loins.

If you notice excessive swelling or drainage from the incision, you should get medical attention right away. You should also visit a doctor as soon as possible if you have a fever, chills, nausea, or trouble breathing.

How Long Should I Wear a Bandage?

You must wear your bandage for at least the first day after surgery. After that, you can take it off.

However, you can’t remove the staples or sutures on your own. Those must stay in until your post-operative visit. Your doctor will remove these for you. This can be anywhere between one or two weeks after your procedure.

When Can I Bathe Again?

On the third day after your surgery, you can shower again. But the showers should be quick. Don’t scrub or make any direct contact with your incision.

Stay out of bathtubs, pools, hot tubs, oceans, or other water until two weeks have passed. This water isn’t clean or sterile, so it could get into your incision and cause an infection.

When Can I Return to My Normal Activities?

You’ll need to give yourself several weeks of recovery time before you return to work or your usual activities. Pushing yourself too hard too fast can make your injury worse and lengthen the recovery time.

For example, you shouldn’t lift more than 5 or ten pounds for the first three weeks after your surgery. After the fourth week, you can increase this to 20 pounds. You shouldn’t lift anything heavier than this until three months have passed.

As long as you are off any pain medications, you can drive two weeks after your surgery. If you are experiencing any pain when driving, you might want to push this back.

Don’t sit on hard surfaces or for long periods of time until two to four weeks have passed. You should also stay away from activities that might lead to trips and falls, such as playing with children or partaking in sports.

But don’t confuse recovery for bedrest. You should start walking as soon as you can after the surgery (sometimes your surgeon will encourage you to walk an hour after your surgery). Walking prevents blood from clotting, strengthens your muscles, and improves your cardiovascular health.

There isn’t an exact time you should return to work. Since every job requires different levels of physical exertion, you should return to work once you feel able. Two weeks tend to be enough recovery time for most people.

What to Do After a Kyphoplasty

The effects of a kyphoplasty procedure are different for each person, so be patient with yourself and give yourself enough time to recover. Pushing yourself is only going to make your injury worse and your recovery time longer. Stick to plenty of rest and plenty of walking.

Think you might need a kyphoplasty? Don’t wait to book an appointment with us online.

What is Kyphoplasty

What is Kyphoplasty? What You Need to Know About This Minimally Invasive Treatment

We live in a fantastic time in which medical technology is moving at the speed of light. As many new advancements as the general public hear about, we as physicians learn about so many more.

One of the most innovative and helpful procedures technology has helped us create is kyphoplasty. If you’re not in the spinal surgery field, you may be asking, “What is kyphoplasty?” You aren’t alone, but I’m here to help with all the details you need to know about this minimally invasive surgery.

What is Kyphoplasty and What Does Kyphoplasty Treat?

Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that treats spinal compression fractures.

A compression fracture happens when a bone is under too much pressure. With time, the bone can’t take the stress and it cracks. While it happens in the back, a compression fracture tends to be extremely painful.

Spinal compression fractures are most common among osteoporosis patients. These patients are losing bone mass and bone strength, so compression fractures can happen more easily.

Unfortunately, we can’t stabilize a compression fracture in a vertebra the same way you use a cast to stabilize a broken arm. Kyphoplasty, however, is a procedure that stabilizes the fractured vertebra. This relieves pain, allows the vertebra to heal, and restores the shape of the vertebra.

How Does Kyphoplasty Work?

Kyphoplasty is unique because it’s a minimally invasive spinal surgery. Traditional spinal surgery is notorious for its long and painful recovery time. For many patients with vertebral compression fractures, kyphoplasty is a more manageable alternative.

While it is minimally invasive, this procedure is still a surgery. However, it’s often done under local anesthesia instead of general anesthesia. This means that you’ll be awake during the surgery, but you won’t feel any pain.

Local anesthesia alone provides a strong benefit. When you go under general anesthesia, you need a breathing tube and other measures. It gives your body much more to recover from, so your healing period is longer. Local anesthesia takes away this element of your surgery.

The Kyphoplasty Procedure

The entire kyphoplasty procedure only takes about 30-45 minutes. This can vary based on how many vertebrae are fractured.

You’ll lay face-down on the operating table. After your anesthesia takes effect, the surgeon will make an incision near the fractured vertebra. The incision is only half an inch long, so scarring is minimal.

Through this incision, the surgeon will insert a tiny tube into the center of the fractured vertebra. This tube contains a small medical balloon. Your surgeon will inflate this balloon inside the fractured vertebra to create a cavity that restores the bone’s size and shape.

After the cavity is created, the surgeon deflates and removes the balloon. The surgeon immediately injects a specialized solution called PMMA into the bone. Think of PMMA as a concrete designed for bones.

The PMMA fills the new cavity and hardens within about five minutes. This stabilizes the vertebra’s restored shape and relieves the pain of the fracture. After the PMMA has hardened, your procedure is over.

Keep in mind that there are a few different ways to perform kyphoplasty. While a balloon is a common method, some surgeons use specialized nets or balls instead. It may depend on the best method for your unique fracture.

What Can I Expect After My Kyphoplasty Procedure?

Understandably, one of the most common questions about spinal surgery is, “How long will my recovery take?” Fortunately, kyphoplasty is known for its short recovery time.

Most patients can go home the same day as their procedure. However, some will need to stay in the hospital overnight. It depends on the number of vertebrae your surgery treated, your general health, and any complications from your surgery.

While you will have some pain in the surgery area at first, you can expect to start feeling better within two days. Every patient’s healing speed varies, though, so your surgeon can give you a better idea of what to expect.

Your timeline for returning to work and your other daily activities will depend on your job and your healing rate. Keep in mind that you will need to wait for several weeks before you can resume an exercise program.

After surgery, your surgeon will give you detailed instructions about your recovery period. These instructions are tailored to your specific needs, so follow them closely.

How Do I Know if I’m a Candidate for Kyphoplasty?

As with any other medical procedure, kyphoplasty is only successful in the right patients. Your eligibility will depend on your specific type of compression fracture.

As a result, the only way to know if you’re a candidate is to visit a spinal surgeon. The surgeon’s office can either perform x-rays or refer you to an x-ray center to determine if you’re a candidate.

Not everyone with a compression fracture knows that this is the cause of their pain. If you have back pain, it’s important to see a doctor for a diagnosis before trying to seek treatment.

Will Health Insurance Cover My Kyphoplasty?

In many cases, health insurance covers kyphoplasty. The key is that they need to recognize that it is medically necessary in your case. This depends on your documentation like x-rays and your surgeon’s assessment.

The Next Steps for Kyphoplasty

Now you have answers to your questions like “What is kyphoplasty,” “How long does it take to recover from kyphoplasty,” and more. So what’s the next step?

If you have a vertebra with a compression fracture, kyphoplasty may be the best option. To find out, contact Dr. Carl Spivak for a consultation. He’ll be able to determine if you’re a candidate for kyphoplasty or if another form of treatment will work better.

If you have unidentified back pain, you can also schedule an appointment with Dr. Spivak. He can discuss your symptoms and guide you through the tests to accurately diagnose your condition and determine your treatment options.

What are the alternative treatments to vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty?

The alternative treatments to vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty are living with the pain, rest, wearing a back brace, physical therapy for core muscle strengthening and pain medicine.  Please click on Kyphoplasty for more information on vertebral body compression fractures.

I broke my back. Who do I see for vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty?

I would recommend seeing a spine surgeon if you are considering vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty.    You should bring your x-rays, CT and MRI to be reviewed and interpreted to determine the best treatment for you.  For more information about spinal compression fractures, vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty, please click Kyphoplasty.

Click Schedule an Appointment to learn more how Executive Spine Surgery can help you.  Good Luck!

What are the Risks of Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty?

Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are common, safe, and helpful procedures, but like any other procedure or medication, there are many risks.  Some of the risks are related to fracture, a person’s health, anesthesia, and procedure.  Fortunately, the risk of these procedures are generally low, but risks include death, stroke, heart attack, pneumonia, blood clots in lungs and legs, fat embolus, plastic spreading to the lungs, lung collapse, spinal cord or nerve injury causing pain, numbness, weakness, bowel and bladder incontinence or paralysis, infection, bleeding, but not limited to these complications. People with one fracture are at increased risk of future fractures.

For more information on vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty please click on Kyphoplasty.

What are the Results I should Expect from a Vertebroplasty or Kyphoplasty?

The results from some clinical studies have been controversial. I have found very good results with vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty if you have a recent fracture, back tenderness, and acute to subacute (recent) swelling of your fracture on MRI and do not have back nerve or spinal cord compression or instability in the spine. Most patients’ pain improves.  Even though uncommon these procedures may have risks.  Please contact Executive Spine Surgery if you have a vertebral body compression fracture.

For more information please click Kyphoplasty.