What to Expect from Kyphoplasty

Prior to Surgery

  • You may be asked to stop taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), lopidogrel (Plavix), warfarin (Coumadin), and other blood thinners.
  • Ask your doctor which drugs you should still take on the day of the surgery.
  • Discuss any possible bleeding disorders or other medical conditions that you may have.
  • You will have blood samples taken in case you need a blood transfusion.
  • Let your doctor know if you have a cold, flu, fever, herpes breakout or other illness prior to surgery. This may require that you reschedule your procedure.
  • Do not smoke. This will help you to recover quicker.

On the Day of the Surgery

  • You will usually be asked not to drink or eat anything after midnight the night before the surgery.
  • Take the drugs your doctor told you to take with a small sip of water.
  • Your doctor or nurse will tell you when to arrive at the hospital.
  • Bring someone with you to drive you home as you will not be allowed to drive following surgery.
  • Wear comfortable clothing.

After Surgery

  • Most patients will go home the same day, but some may require an overnight hospital stay.
  • You will be asked to lie still for several hours following your procedure.
  • If you are extremely frail or have other medical conditions, you may have to spend the night in the hospital for observation.
  • You will be encouraged to do breathing exercises.
  • The injection site in your back will be sore for a few days. Placing an ice bag on the site for 15 minutes each hour will help lessen the pain. Remember to use a cloth to ensure that the ice bag is not directly touching your skin.
  • You may shower with the bandage in place for the next few days.
  • Increase activities slowly and follow your doctor’s advice on when to return to lifting or exercise.

Recovery: what to expect in the next few weeks

Most patients will feel better within a few days; however, do not lift, push or pull any heavy objects until after your doctor says it is OK.


Kyphoplasty Q&A

What does the procedure involve?

Kyphoplasty is performed using conscious sedation and a local anesthesia. Under fluoroscopic guidance, the surgeon introduces a balloon into the center of the vertebral body through a catheter to create a cavity in the bone and to increase the height of the fractured vertebra. The balloon is removed and replaced with bone cement, which is injected into the site, stabilizing the vertebrae.

How long is the procedure?

The procedure generally takes about one hour for each bone that is treated.

What is the recovery time?

Many patients get relief from pain immediately. Most report that their pain is gone or is much better within 48 hours. Typically, patients resume normal activity within 24 hours.

How do I know if kyphoplasty will help my pain?

If your pain is caused by a broken bone in your back and you still have pain after two weeks of conservative treatments – bed rest or pain control medications – kyphoplasty may help you. Newer fractures normally respond better than older fractures. Note that kyphoplasty is not used to treat herniated discs.