Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine, Ahead of Print.
OBJECTIVEIn this case series, the authors evaluated the safety of balloon kyphoplasty at 4 or more vertebral levels in a single anesthetic session. The current standard is that no more than 3 levels should be cemented at one time because of a perceived risk of increased complications.METHODSA retrospective chart review was performed for 19 consecutive patients who underwent ≥ 4-level balloon kyphoplasty between July 1, 2011, and December 31, 2015. Outcomes documented included kyphoplasty-associated complications and incidences of subsequent vertebral fracture.RESULTSNineteen patients aged 22 to 95 years (mean 66.1 years, median 66 years; 53% male, 47% female) had 4 or more vertebrae cemented during the same procedure (mean 4.6 levels [62 thoracic, 29 lumbar]). No postoperative anesthetic complication, infection, extensive blood loss, symptomatic cement leakage, pneumothorax, or new-onset anemia was observed. Five patients experienced new compression fracture within a mean of 278 days postoperatively. One patient with metastatic cancer suffered bilateral pulmonary embolism 19 days after surgery, but no evidence of cement in the pulmonary vasculature was found.CONCLUSIONSIn this case series, kyphoplasty performed on 4 or more vertebral levels was not found to increase risk to patient safety, and it might decrease unnecessary risks associated with multiple operations. Also, morbidity associated with leaving some fractures untreated because of an unfounded fear of increased risk of complications might be decreased by treating 4 or more levels in the same anesthetic session.