Balloon Kyphoplasty

What is Balloon Kyphoplasty

Balloon kyphoplasty is a procedure to treat a spinal compression fracture, which is a collapse of the bones that form the spine (vertebrae).

With this type of fracture, the vertebrae become squashed (compressed) into a wedge shape, and this causes pain. In this procedure, the collapsed vertebrae are expanded with a balloon, and bone cement is injected into them to strengthen them.

Tell a health care provider about:

  • Any allergies you have.
  • All medicines you are taking, including vitamins, herbs, eye drops, creams, and over-the-counter medicines.
  • Any problems you or family members have had with anesthetic medicines.
  • Any blood disorders you have.
  • Any surgeries you have had.
  • Any medical conditions you have.
  • Whether you are pregnant or may be pregnant.

What are the risks?

Generally, this is a safe procedure. However, problems may occur, including:

  • Infection.
  • Bleeding.
  • Allergic reactions to medicines.
  • Damage to other structures or organs.
  • Leaking of bone cement into other parts of the body.

What happens before the procedure?

  • Follow instructions from your health care provider about eating or drinking restrictions.
  • Ask your health care provider about:
    • Changing or stopping your regular medicines. This is especially important if you are taking diabetes medicines or blood thinners.
    • Taking medicines such as aspirin and ibuprofen. These medicines can thin your blood.Do nottake these medicines before your procedure if your health care provider instructs you not to.
  • Ask your health care provider how your surgical site will be marked or identified.
  • You may be given antibiotic medicine to help prevent infection.
  • Do notuse tobacco products, including cigarettes, chewing tobacco, or e-cigarettes. If you need help quitting, ask your health care provider.
  • Plan to have someone take you home after the procedure.
  • If you go home right after the procedure, plan to have someone with you for 24 hours.

What happens during the procedure?

  • To reduce your risk of infection:
    • Your health care team will wash or sanitize their hands.
    • Your skin will be washed with soap.
  • An IV tube will be inserted into one of your veins.
  • You will be given one or more of the following:
    • A medicine to help you relax (sedative).
    • A medicine to numb the area (local anesthetic).
    • A medicine to make you fall asleep (general anesthetic).
  • Your surgeon will use an X-ray machine to see your spinal compression fracture.
  • Two small incisions will be made near your spine.
  • A thin tube will be inserted into your spine. Through this tube, the balloon will be placed in your spine where the fractures are.
  • The balloon will be inflated. This will create space and push the bone back toward its normal height and shape.
  • The balloon will be removed.
  • The newly created space in your spine will be filled with bone cement.
  • When the cement hardens, the tube in your spine will be removed.
  • Your incisions will be closed with stitches (sutures), skin glue, or adhesive strips.
  • A bandage (dressing) may be used to cover your incisions.

The procedure may vary among health care providers and hospitals.

What happens after the procedure?

  • Your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and blood oxygen level will be monitored often until the medicines you were given have worn off.
  • You will have some pain. Pain medicine will be available to help you.

Balloon Kyphoplasty, Care After

What can I expect after the procedure?

After your procedure, it is common to have back pain.

Follow these instructions at home:

Incision care

  • Follow instructions from your health care provider about how to take care of your incisions. Make sure you:
    • Wash your hands with soap and water before you change your bandage (dressing). If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer.
    • Change your dressing as told by your health care provider.
    • Leave stitches (sutures), skin glue, or adhesive strips in place. These skin closures may need to be in place for 2 weeks or longer. If adhesive strip edges start to loosen and curl up, you may trim the loose edges. Do notremove adhesive strips completely unless your health care provider tells you to do that.
  • Check your incision area every day for signs of infection. Watch for:
    • Redness, swelling, or pain.
    • Fluid, blood, or pus.
  • Keep your dressing dry until your health care provider says that it can be removed.


  • Rest your back and avoid intense physical activity for as long as told by your health care provider.
  • Return to your normal activities as told by your health care provider. Ask your health care provider what activities are safe for you.
  • Do notlift anything that is heavier than 10 lb (4.5 kg). This is about the weight of a gallon of milk. You may need to avoid heavy lifting for several weeks.

General instructions

  • Take over-the-counter and prescription medicines only as told by your health care provider.
  • If directed, apply ice to the painful area:
    • Put ice in a plastic bag.
    • Place a towel between your skin and the bag.
    • Leave the ice on for 20 minutes, 2–3 times per day.
  • Do notuse tobacco products, including cigarettes, chewing tobacco, or e-cigarettes. If you need help quitting, ask your health care provider.
  • Keep all follow-up visits as told by your health care provider. This is important.

Contact a health care provider if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have redness, swelling, or pain at the site of your incisions.
  • You have fluid, blood, or pus coming from your incisions.
  • You have pain that gets worse or does not get better with medicine.
  • You develop numbness or weakness in any part of your body.

Get help right away if:

  • You have chest pain.
  • You have difficulty breathing.
  • You cannot move your legs.
  • You cannot control your bladder or bowel movements.
  • You suddenly become weak or numb on one side of your body.
  • You become very confused.
  • You have trouble speaking or understanding, or both.

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