When a patient presents with multiple vertebral compression fractures, a serious case of scoliosis or other conditions, often a physician will recommend balloon kyphoplasty. A minimally invasive technique—less than a hour is required per vertebra—the procedure has shown to be very effective at relieving chronic back pain and realigning the spine to a normal and natural position.
Osteoporosis, spinal tumors and various traumas to the spine often cause vertebral compression fractures, and a host of problems can ensue for a sufferer including severe pain and losses of normal sensation, mobility and range of motion. Additionally, especially in elderly patients, a loss of height can occur and quality of life can be severely impacted.
In preforming a balloon kyphoplasty, a surgeon makes a small incision and creates an open area near the damage vertebra. A “bone tamp” is then inserted and inflated to restore the normal height of the vertebra, creating a cavity. Next, the tamp is deflated but the cavity created remains open and is quickly filled with a cement-like substance that stabilizes the area.
The majority of patients are discharged from the hospital within one day of the procedure, and they can often return to normal daily activities immediately, although precautions with lifting and bending should be observed in order to avoid injuring the affected area during the healing process.