Information for the public
NICE has considered the evidence on balloon kyphoplasty. It has recommended that when doctors use this procedure for people with vertebral compression fractures, they should be sure that:
the patient understands what is involved and agrees (consents) to the treatment, and
the results of the procedure are monitored.
NICE has also said that balloon kyphoplasty should only be done:
when it has first been discussed by a team of specialist doctors that includes a specialist in imaging techniques (a radiologist) and a spinal surgeon
when there are facilities for getting good images of the area to be treated, and
when access to a spinal surgery service can be arranged.
Doctors who do this procedure should be thoroughly trained to do it beforehand. In particular, they must follow the manufacturer's instructions for making the cement, to reduce the risk of blood vessels being blocked by cement leaks.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has issued a safety notice relevant to the use of cement in balloon kyphoplasty (MDA/2007/088 – Injectable polymeric cements used in percutaneous vertebroplasty, balloon kyphoplasty and pedicle screw augmentation).