Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive surgical procedure to help correct bone deformity and relieve pain that is associated with spinal compression fractures. A fracture or break in a vertebra can be extremely painful as it can result in bone fragments rubbing against each other. This can make everyday activities difficult to perform, impacting on quality of life.
Who is Suitable for Kyphoplasty?
Although Kyphoplasty cannot correct an established deformity of the spine, the procedure is effective in treating people whose bones have been weakened by cancer or have collapsed through osteoporosis, a condition that causes loss of bone density. However, as Kyphoplasty cannot be used as a preventative technique, not all patients with osteoporosis are suitable candidates for the procedure, nor those with herniated discs, back arthritis, curvature of the spine or scoliosis.
If a fracture has occurred, treatment should be completed within 8 weeks to give the best results for restoring body height.
Before undergoing Kyphoplasty, your doctor is likely to request blood tests, along with an X-ray and MRI scan to help view the area or areas that require repair. Before the procedure is undertaken, you will be administered an anaesthetic to either help you relax and relieve pain, or put you to sleep. This will ensure you feel no pain during your operation.
You will be required to lie on your stomach, where a small incision is made in the back where a needle is inserted through the skin and back muscles, into the bone and fractured area. The surgeon will use X-ray images as guidance to insert a special balloon through the tube and into the vertebra; this is then carefully inflated to elevate the fracture, returning the vertebra its normal position. It also compacts the soft inner bone to create a cavity into the vertebra. The balloon is then removed and a cement-like substance is injected which quickly hardens, stabilising the bone.
The needle is then removed and no stitches are generally required. The procedure takes no longer than an hour, although it may take longer if more vertebrae require treatment.
Following your procedure, you will return to the recovery room to recover from the anaesthetic. Once you are feeling better, you will be encouraged to start walking, usually within an hour of the procedure. You will likely feel some soreness where the needle entered your back, but this will disappear after a few days. Ice packs can help alleviate any discomfort you may be experiencing. Pain relief is immediate for some patients, but a reduction or complete elimination can be expected within 2 days following surgery.
Kyphoplasty is usually carried out as a day case procedure, meaning you should be able to go home on the same day. However, you might need to stay in overnight if:
- There were complications with your surgery
- Your procedure involved treatment for more than one vertebra
- You are not in the best of health
If you are able to go home on the same day following your surgery, you will need someone to collect you as you will not be able to drive immediately following your procedure.
You may be required to avoid certain activities following your procedure, such as heavy lifting, although you should be able to return to normal activities straight away. Your doctor will discuss this with you. You will also be advised to take certain vitamins, minerals and medication that will help to strengthen your bones and prevent further spinal fractures.
Risks and Complications
Kyphoplasty is considered a safe procedure, but as with any invasive surgery, it does carry some risks. These include:
- Reaction to anaesthesia
- Nerve damage, leading to numbness, tingling or weakness
- Spinal cord injury
- Allergic reaction to the materials used for the procedure
Outlook Following Kyphoplasty
Patients who have sustained fractures from osteoporosis are at an increased risk of additional fractures due to the loss of bone strength and density caused by the condition.
Following Kyphoplasty, approximately 10% of patients will experience more compression fractures.
At One Healthcare we can book you in to see a specialist Orthopaedic Spinal surgeon, usually within 48 hours, for an initial consultation. Kyphoplasty is available at One Ashford Hospital in Kent and One Hatfield Hospital in Hertfordshire.
You can use your private medical insurance or pay for your Kyphoplasty treatment. We offer competitive, fixed price packages as well as the ability to spread your cost with the option of 0% finance. If you are using your health insurance, please contact your insurer first for approval and let them know you’d like to be treated at either the One Ashford Hospital or One Hatfield Hospital.
Why One Healthcare
- Modern purpose-built hospital opened in March 2016 (Ashford) December 2017 (Hatfield)
- Fast access to diagnostics including MRI, Xray and Ultrasound
- Private, spacious, en-suite rooms
- Specialist Physiotherapy and nursing teams
- Little or no waiting time
- ‘Ultra clean air’ theatres
- Freshly prepared food
- Calm, dignified experience