Kyphoplasty provides a minimally invasive way to treat painful compression fractures in the spine. A balloon is inserted into the broken bone and inflated to try to restore the height. Finally, the bone is hardened from within to prevent further movement and fracture. Compression fractures are more common in patients with osteoporosis. Here is a great resource with more information about this condition:

What is Kyphoplasty?

Kyphoplasty is a treatment for painful compression fractures in the spine. In a compression fracture, part or all of a spine vertebra collapses. The treatment is also known as balloon kyphoplasty. Kyphoplasty can be performed at an outpatient clinic or in a hospital. Patients may receive local anesthesia. Patients will also likely receive medication to help them relax and feel tired. Patients may also be put under general anesthesia and will be asleep and unable to feel pain.

During the procedure, the doctor places a needle through the skin and into the spine bone. A real-time x-ray will capture images which are used to guide the doctor to the correct region in the lower back. A balloon is placed in the needle, then into the bone. The balloon will then be inflated to restore the height of the vertebrae. Cement is then injected into the gaps to prevent it from collapsing again.

Why is the Procedure Performed?

A common causes of a compression fracture is the thinning of the bones in the spine also known as osteoporosis. The doctor may suggest this procedure if the patient has severe and disabling pain for at least 2 months which does not improve with bed rest, pain medications, and physical therapy. The doctor may also suggest this procedure if the person has a painful compression fracture of the spine due to

  • Cancer including multiple myeloma
  • Injury which caused broken bones in the spine

What Happens After the Procedure?

Patients should be able to walk following the procedure. However, it is best to stay in bed for the first day or two following surgery, except to use the bathroom of course. After 24 hours, gradually return to your regular activities.

Avoid lifting heavy objects and strenuous activities for no less than 6 weeks. Apply ice to the area of the wound if you experience discomfort where the needle was inserted into the skin.