Diagnostic Imaging, Inc.

Services - Interventional Radiology

Balloon Kyphoplasty

The Condition: Spinal Fractures

spinal fractures

Osteoporosis causes more than 700,000 spinal fractures each year in the U.S. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, this is more than twice the annual number of hip fractures.

Spinal fractures can also be caused by cancer, the most common being multiple myeloma. According to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, in the majority of patients with multiple myeloma, osteolytic lesions develop which weaken the bone, causing pain and increasing the risk of fractures.

Some spinal fractures may collapse acutely while others collapse more slowly. Left untreated, one fracture can lead to subsequent fractures, often resulting in a condition called kyphosis, or rounded back. Kyphosis, signified by the dowager’s hump, can compress the chest and abdominal cavity, which may result in negative health consequences.

spinal fractures

Balloon Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive, orthopaedic treatment that stabilizes the fracture, thereby reducing pain and providing for correction of the deformity. Studies also report the following benefits:

  • Correction of vertebral body deformity
  • Significant reduction in back pain
  • Significant improvement in quality of life
  • Significant improvement in mobility, including the ability to perform daily activities such as walking, hobbies and work
  • Significant reduction in the number of days per month that a patient remains in bed
  • Low complication rate

About the Balloon Kyphoplasty Procedure

spinal fractures

The spine specialist creates a small pathway into the fractured bone. A small, orthopaedic balloon is guided through the instrument into the vertebra. The incision site is approximately 1 cm in length.

The balloon is carefully inflated in an attempt to raise the collapsed vertebra and return it to its normal position. Inflation of the balloon creates a void (cavity) in the vertebral body.

Once the vertebra is in the correct position, the balloon is deflated and removed. The cavity is filled with bone cement forming an “internal cast” to support the surrounding bone and prevent further collapse.

Generally, the procedure is done on both sides of the vertebral body.

The Balloon Kyphoplasty procedure typically takes about one hour per fracture and may require an overnight hospital stay. The procedure can be done using either local or general anesthesia; the surgeon will determine the most appropriate method, based on the patient’s overall condition.

In most cases, Medicare provides coverage for Balloon Kyphoplasty. Other insurance plans may also cover the procedure.

Although the complication rate with Balloon Kyphoplasty has been demonstrated to be low, as with most surgical procedures there are risks associated with Balloon Kyphoplasty, including serious complications. Patients should consult with their physician for a full discussion of the risks.

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