Balloon Kyphoplasty & Vertebroplasty

As we get older our bones become weaker, more brittle, and can easily break even without a fall. These so called insufficiency compression fractures are very common and can cause severe back pain and an increasing tendency to stoop.

Both procedures (cement augmentation) involve injecting cement into the broken vertebra and are recommended by NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence).

http://guidance.nice.org.uk/TA279

Several of our specialists at The UK Spine Centre have extensive experience in this technique. In addition Mr Aylott trains surgeons on this technique and has presented cases and evidence at International meetings.

Uses

This treatment is available for anyone with a painful unhealed fracture, performed anytime from a few weeks to months after a spinal fracture.

Cement augmentation is a very well tolerated procedure and we regularly perform this on older patients, quickly improving pain, posture, mobility, and overall quality of life.

Procedure

The Treatment is carried out under a local anaesthetic with sedation, avoiding the need for general anaesthesia. This means the procedure is possible for medically more frail or elderly individuals. All patients go home the same day.

We use live imaging to guide small needles through the back into the broken vertebra.

In Kyphoplasty balloons are inflated within the collapsed vertebra to help restore the height of the bone. Cement is then injected into the cavity reinforcing the broken bone. In Vertebroplasty cement is injected into the vertebra without using balloons.

We generally prefer Kyphoplasty to Vertebroplasty because the powerful balloons enable restoration of the vertebra height. This reduces the spinal deformity which benefits patients in standing taller and straighter afterwards.

Success

In our experience at The UK Spine Centre this is a simple, low risk and very effective treatment.

Most patients notice that their fracture pain is almost immediately better and they can walk, stand, and bend more comfortably.

Risks

The chance of having a complication is very low and this procedure is well tolerated even in elderly or frail individuals.

In our centre we have the experience of performing this under local anaesthetic which reduces any general anaesthetic risks.

There is less than a 1% chance of having a complication; nerve injury, spinal fluid leak, infection, ongoing or worse symptoms, bleeding, blood clot or other medical complication. A small amount of cement can also squeeze out of the fracture during the procedure but this very rarely causes a problem.

It is worth remembering that we use this technique to fix the broken vertebra so the procedure does not stop you developing a similar fracture elsewhere.

Recovery

You will be up and about immediately following the procedure and home within a few hours.

You will have a few small dressings on the back but no stitches are required.

Most patients report that their back immediately feels stronger and more comfortable, and they can stand taller and straighter.

Usually any painkillers you were taking before your operation can be reduced or stopped.

The following day you can return to walking and exercise which you can build up progressively.

We will probably recommend a bone density scan from your GP, if this has not already been done. This is to determine the strength of your bones and consider the need for further medical treatment to reduce the chance of further fractures.

We will see you back in the clinic 6 weeks following the procedure.
Our team will support you before and after the procedure and your specialist remains available to you at any time.

Further Reading

Please see our Patient Stories which describe real patients, their problems, diagnosis and successful treatment under our care at The UK Spine Centre.

We also invite you to read our published articles on Balloon Kyphoplasty which you will find under the articles section on this website.

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