If you have suffered a spinal fracture, you might be considering kyphoplasty (inserting a balloon into the spine to make space, then injecting cement into the bone in order to stabilize it) as a treatment option. Kyphoplasty is a very effective, low-risk procedure. However, it is still important to learn as much as you can about a procedure before you decide to go through with it. Listed below are three important things to know about kyphoplasty to help you determine whether this surgery is the right option for you.

1. Who Is and Isn't a Candidate for Kyphoplasty?

Like most surgeries, kyphoplasty is better and more effective for certain people compared to others. Many elderly people who have experienced compression fractures as a result of osteoporosis are good candidates for the surgery and often experience a reduction in pain very quickly. Younger people can also benefit from kyphoplasty if they have received fractures from conditions like multiple myeloma, lymphoma, kidney disease, and metastatic carcinoma. While kyphoplasty is effective for a great number of people, established deformities of the spine cannot be treated with this procedure. 

2. How Long Will I Be in the Hospital?

Fortunately for those receiving the surgery, kyphoplasty is a fairly quick and simple procedure. Kyphoplasty typically lasts less than an hour, although it can take more time depending on the number of vertebrae that need treatment. Another great benefit to kyphoplasty is that most patients experience almost immediate pain relief, and they can sometimes start walking as soon as an hour after the surgery is finished. After you leave the hospital, you can resume daily activities but should avoid heavy lifting for at least six weeks to allow the spine to fully heal.

3. What are the Alternatives?

If you're nervous about or can't afford surgery, there are alternatives out there, including rest, prescription medications to relieve pain, physical therapy, and bracing. With non-operative treatments, the main goal is to keep the patient in as little pain as possible while allowing the fracture to heal. There are risks associated with these other methods, including a decrease in bone density from stopping activity and spinal deformity if the fracture heals improperly. Non-operative treatments can be effective, but the risks are also greater than those associated with surgery.

If you've fractured your spine, kyphoplasty is definitely a viable treatment option. If you're on the fence about the procedure, take the three facts listed above into consideration and decide what works best for you.  For more information, contact Southwest Florida Neurosurgical Associates or a similar organization.