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Why might I need a Kyphoplasty?
A kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat spinal compression fractures that have not healed naturally. The vertebrae may be damaged because of osteoporosis, tumours or trauma. The procedure works best within three months of the fracture occurring. The kyphoplasty will help to relieve the pain associated with spinal fractures, may restore the height of the vertebrae and help to correct kyphosis (the forward bend).
Are there any risks with a Kyphoplasty?
It is a safe procedure and the risks are low.
As with any surgery, there can be additional risks including:
- Incision pain, where the needles go through the skin
- Wound infection
- Spine infection
- Haemorrhage (bleeding)
- Nerve injury
- Increased pain
- Muscle spasm
- There is a small risk (1-2%) that the cement could leak into the spinal canal risking a blood clot or paralysis. If this happened emergency surgery to decompress the spinal cord may be needed.
How to prepare for a Kyphoplasty
Your consultant will provide you with all the relevant information before your procedure along with any preparation you may need to do in the days leading up to your surgery. It is important to tell your consultant about any medicines you may be taking, including any over the counter pain medicines such as paracetamol or aspirin.
You may need radiological (imaging) tests before your surgery, including ultrasound, x-ray or an MRI scan.
Do not eat (this includes chewing gum) or drink for 6 hours before you are due to have surgery otherwise your surgery may be delayed or rescheduled.
Please ensure you have a competent adult available to take you home after you leave OneWelbeck Orthopaedics.
What will happen during my surgery?
An anaesthetist will discuss with you the type of anaesthetic used and the process they will follow. This operation may often require a full general anaesthetic (GA). However, a local anaesthetic (LA) technique enhanced with intravenous pain relief and sedation may be employed where appropriate. You will be given the opportunity to ask any questions and raise any concerns you may have with the anaesthetist.
A kyphoplasty is most commonly performed under a GA. A deflated balloon is threaded into the vertebrae through a needle and then inflated to create a cavity. Using x-ray guidance, hollow needles are passed into the vertebrae and then medical cement is injected at low pressure into this cavity. The cement sets quickly and stabilises the fracture and restores the height. A kyphoplasty for one fractured vertebrae takes around 30 minutes. The procedure can be performed at several levels.
What happens after surgery?
After your surgery, you will be watched by your dedicated nurse at OneWelbeck Orthopaedics for the few hours afterwards. Once you have seen your Consultant you will be able to go home the same day. It is important to rest to give your injury the best chance of healing.
Make sure you follow any advice given to you by your consultant orthopaedic surgeon including any advice on pain relief, wound dressing and any exercises you may be given.
A follow up appointment will be arranged two weeks post operatively by the consultant’s secretary.
Please contact your consultant immediately or, if out of hours, The Welbeck Hospital matron’s office, your GP or Accident & Emergency if you experience any of the following:
- Increasing redness, swelling or oozing around the operation site
- Excruciating pain unlike your normal symptoms
- Sudden weakness or numbness which is not resolving
- Sudden loss of bowel or bladder function.
- Severe headache which is not improved with painkillers.