What to Expect After Kyphoplasty for a Compression Fracture

You’re struggling with a compression fracture that’s causing you considerable pain, and you’re tired of not being able to enjoy your life. After weighing your options, you decide that a kyphoplasty is the best path forward to pain-free living, but you’re concerned about the recovery period.

Here at Comprehensive Pain Management, our team of highly trained spine experts, led by Drs. Boris Shwartzman and Do Chan, believes that patient education is critical to successfully managing painful conditions like compression fractures.

With that in mind, here’s a look at what you can reasonably expect after a kyphoplasty procedure, bearing in mind that no two patients are alike, and recoveries do vary.

In and out

While kyphoplasty is an interventional procedure, there are several advantages to this minimally invasive approach to remedying compression fractures.

First, we perform your kyphoplasty on an outpatient basis, which means you’re free to return home the same day. 

Second, we don’t typically use general anesthesia for a kyphoplasty, as a local anesthetic is enough to keep you comfortable. Even if we do opt for general anesthesia, you can still return home on the same day once you’re awake and we’re satisfied that everything went smoothly. In either case, it’s important that you arrange for someone to drive you home.

Third, we don’t make any incisions that require sutures, because we use a needle to restore height to your collapsed vertebra. This means you won’t have any wounds to care for once you’re home.

When you get home

One of the first questions we’re often asked is how long it takes for you to realize the much-anticipated benefits of the kyphoplasty (pain relief). The answer to this depends on the patient, but we’re pleased to report that many experience almost immediate relief from the pain, while others report gradual pain relief over the course of 1-3 days after the procedure.

You may also feel some soreness at the site of the injection, but this can be easily treated with over-the-counter medications and cold packs.

Resuming your life

On the day you return home from your kyphoplasty, we do ask that you take it easy and rest (and maybe for a few days afterward), but you should be able to resume your normal activities quite quickly. Here again, patients recover at different rates, and we urge you to listen to your body and take care not to push yourself too hard.

We also ask that you restrain from any strenuous activities, especially heavy lifting, for at least six weeks after your kyphoplasty.

We want to assure you that our team is with you every step of the way, and if you have any questions, we’re just a phone call away.

Looking to the future

In most cases, compression fractures occur because of osteoporosis, which is a condition that doesn’t disappear after your kyphoplasty. While we can restore your vertebra, your bone loss will continue, which is why we urge you to continue to manage your osteoporosis through medications and physical therapy.

If we haven’t answered all of your questions here about what to expect after your kyphoplasty, please contact one of our four offices in Attleboro or Franklin, Massachusetts, or South Kingstown or Warwick, Rhode Island.

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