Do I Need Surgery For A Spinal Fracture?

When someone experiences a spinal decompression fracture, surgical treatment is sometimes the best option. In these cases, balloon kyphoplasty can help to stabilize the spine and restore normal function. Here’s what patients need to know about this minimally invasive surgery.

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Why would I need this procedure?

There are a few different types of spinal fractures, and the severity of the injury will influence the treatment options. In some cases, fractures are caused by an accident, such as a car crash. Other times, decompression fractures can be caused by an underlying condition, such as osteoporosis. Depending on the type of fracture, doctors may recommend a minimally invasive surgery called balloon kyphoplasty.

What is balloon kyphoplasty?

Balloon kyphoplasty is a procedure to treat spinal compression fractures. During the operation, the surgeon uses a small instrument to guide a tiny balloon into the fractured bone. Then, the balloon is slowly inflated to help raise the broken bone to the normal positioning. When there is adequate space in the vertebrae, the surgeon removes the balloon and fills the space with a specialized type of cement to stabilize the bones.

What to expect in recovery

Depending on the extent of a person’s injuries, kyphoplasty can take as little as an hour. Often, patients go home the same day of the operation, though this timeframe will depend on a person’s recovery. For some patients, the result is immediate pain relief. For others, pain relief takes a few days. Typically, patients can return to daily activities within a few days, although full recovery will take at least 6 weeks.

Good candidates for the surgery

Balloon kyphoplasty can be an extremely effective treatment for some patients. However, some osteoporosis patients may not be the best candidates for the procedure. People who are going to have surgery should have the procedure within 8 weeks of the original injury.

Other treatment options

Traditionally, spinal fractures were treated with bed rest and pain medication. These methods may still work sometimes. However, balloon kyphoplasty can get patients back to normal sooner. The goal of inserting the balloon into the vertebrae is to help restore height and reduce the bone deformity often seen in osteoporosis patients.

Speak with a surgeon

Any time a fracture occurs, patients should schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider. In some cases, minimally invasive surgery may be the best treatment option. To learn more about the procedure, speak with a spine surgeon.

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