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PATIENT GUIDE TO KYPHOPLASTY
A kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat fractures of the thoracic and lumbar spine (mid and low back). These fractures are most commonly the result of osteoporosis, but can also be the result of trauma or cancerous tumors. It has been determined that this procedure is an appropriate one for you.
PREPARATION: You will be asked to shower using a special soap, the night before or the morning of the surgery. It will be given to you by the hospital at your pre-operative evaluation. You should not eat or drink anything after midnight before the day of the surgery. You will be instructed if you need to stop any medications prior to your surgery by our office staff, and which medications to take the morning of your procedure, by the nurse at your pre-operative appointment.
THE DAY OF SURGERY: When you come into the Operating Room, you will first enter the Holding Area. You will meet the nursing staff, the anesthesia staff, and have an intravenous placed. You will then be transported to the operating room, where you will be given medication to put you to sleep. The procedure will be done, either with intravenous sedation and local anesthesia, or with general anesthesia, to be determined by our group and the anesthesiologist. You will feel and remember nothing of the procedure.
At the start of the procedure, you will be gently rolled onto your belly. X-rays will be taken to identify your fracture. Your back is then numbed with a local anesthetic, and two, approximately 3mm incisions are made on either side of your spine. Using x-ray guidance, the fractured bone is accessed, and a balloon is inserted into the bone. The balloon is then inflated, creating a void, or cavity, on the inside of the vertebral body. The balloon is then deflated and removed. The void is filled with bone cement to stabilize the fracture. As the cement hardens, it will create an internal support, or cast, for the fractured bone. (see diagram on the following page)
The skin is then close with dissolvable stitches and a surgical glue, and covered with small bandaids. You will then be transported to the Recovery Room to awaken from the anesthesia. Once fully awake, you may be taken home by a relative or friend.
BENEFITS AND RISKS: The benefit of a kyphoplasty is the reduction or complete relief of your back pain, with a success rate of about 80%. This will reduce the consequences of spinal fractures, including prolonged bedrest and the use of pain medications. Your quality of life will improve, allowing you to return to normal, or nearly normal, levels of activity. Most patients recover in 2-4 weeks; however, recovery time varies between patients.
The main risk of a kyphoplasty is leakage of the cement into the spinal canal, resulting in partial or complete loss of use of your legs. This would require an open surgery to remove the cement. Other risks, including, but not limited to, bleeding, infection, pneumothorax, embolism, and the risk of anesthesia, are extremely low.
You will see Dr. Saris before the operation, in the Holding Area, to answer any questions. You will then be seen by the physician assistant at your postoperative appointments, approximately 2 weeks and 8 weeks after surgery. Physical therapy will be started after the 2 weeks visit, if needed. Either Dr. Saris or the physician assistant are always available, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, if there are any questions or concerns after your surgery.