Is the procedure safe?
Yes, Kyphoplasty is safe, but there are risks as with all surgical procedures on the spine. General risks of any spine surgery include paralysis, infection, blood loss, chronic pain, and spinal fluid leakage. A complication unique to the kyphoplasty procedure is leakage of cement outside of the fractured vertebral body. Overall risks with Kyphoplasty are less than 2% and these complications are usually minor.
How do I find if I am a candidate for Kyphoplasty?
First, ask your doctor if he thinks it would help you. If your doctor does not know about the procedure, ask for a referral to a spine surgery in your community. Spinal imaging with x-rays, CT scan or MRI is needed to make the diagnosis of spinal compression fracture.
How can I learn more about Kyphoplasty?
Go to the web site www.kyphon.com.
How new is the procedure?
Kyphoplasty is a new surgical technique and has been used since 2000. Thousands of patients have been treated in the United States. It is an improvement of a older surgical technique called Vertebroplasty that was first used in France in 1986. Vertebroplasty entails the injection of cement into the vertebral fracture without the ballon. This older procedure has several disadvantages compared to Kyphoplasty. It is less successful in relieving pain with a 70-90% success rate. It stabilizes the fracture but does not restore vertebral body height. There is a higher risk of cement leakage outside the fractured vertebra.