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What are the complications related to kyphoplasty?

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Complications from kyphoplasty can include the following: infection, bleeding, paralysis, nerve injury, spinal fluid leak, pulmonary embolus, allergic reactions to medicines and paralysis, according to spine-health and the National Institutes of Health, NIH. In addition, the bone cementing involved in kyphoplasty can result in hypotension and possibly death. If general anesthesia is used during the procedure, breathing or heart problems can result, according to spine-health.

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Full Answer

Although the risks related to kypoplasty are real, the occurrence of complications related to this procedure is extremely rare, according to spine-health.

Kyphoplasty is a procedure that seeks to repair compression fractures in the spine, states the NIH. During the procedure, a doctor inserts a needle into the skin and through to the spine bone, using real-time X-ray images as a guide. A balloon is then passed through the needle, inserted between the vertebrae and inflated, in order to restore height to the vertebrae. A special cement is then injected into the balloon to keep it from collapsing.

The main alternative to kyphoplasty is a procedure known as vertebroplasty, which is similar to kyphoplasty, but does not use a balloon to inject the cement, and does not allow for the improvement of the height of the vertebrae. Although vertebroplasty is considered safe and minimally invasive, it can result in a greater chance of cement leakage problems, according to spine-health.

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