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Kyphoplasty for Patients With Ankylosing Spondylitis

Medically Reviewed by Jabeen Begum, MD on November 18, 2021

Living with ankylosing spondylitis may predispose you to spinal fractures. Sometimes, even falling from a standing position will fracture the spine. It may be, therefore, a challenge to consistently maintain a physically active lifestyle. However, kyphoplasty presents new hope for you. This treatment involves the insertion of a small balloon in the affected area and then filling the balloon with special cement.  

The risks of kyphoplasty include:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Increased back pain
  • Tingling, numbness, or weakness due to nerve damage
  • Allergic reactions to chemicals used with X-rays to help guide the doctor
  • Cement leaking out of position into the bloodstream or spinal fluid

What to expect during kyphoplasty

Your doctor will examine you, perhaps draw blood for testing, and use X-ray or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). You will then be made to relax or put to sleep using anesthesia. Guided by X-ray imaging, your doctor will insert a needle in your back into the affected bone and inflate a balloon. They will then inject cement into the balloon and remove the needle without having to stitch you up.

Although your doctor may want to keep you at the hospital overnight after the procedure, you may also be in a good position to go back home the same day. It is normal to feel a little bit sore at the site of injection, but you’ll be in a position to walk soon after the procedure. Most patients report a significant reduction of pain after undergoing kyphoplasty.

The fact that this procedure is non-invasive minimizes the risks associated with surgery. Talk to your doctor about this treatment option. You may find that post-operative pain relief is worth a try.

Show Sources

SOURCES: 

ISRN Rheumatology: “Management of Acute Spinal Fractures in Ankylosing Spondylitis.”

The Johns Hopkins University: “Kyphoplasty.”

RadiologyInfo.org: “Vertebroplasty & Kyphoplasty.”

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