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Kyphoplasty & Vertebroplasty

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Kyphoplasty & Vertebroplasty

Vertebral Augmentation 150x150px

Non-surgical treatment of vertebral body compression fractures

What are kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty procedures?

Kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty are similar treatments for vertebral body compression fractures, which are small breaks in the thick mass of bone that makes up the front part of your spinal column (the vertebral body).

How does the procedure work?

During the kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty procedure, you’ll lie on your stomach. The physician will insert a hollow needle, called a trocar, through your skin and into the vertebra. A type of x-ray, called fluoroscopy, guides the trocar into the proper position.

Once the trocar is in place, either cement (vertebroplasty) or an inflatable balloon-like device (kyphoplasty) is inserted into the vertebra through the trocar. During a kyphoplasty, the balloon is inflated to restore the shape and height of the vertebra before being filled with bone cement.


What are the causes of vertebral body fractures?

Thinning of bones, or osteoporosis, is the main cause of vertebral compression fractures. Pathologic fractures related to tumors growing in the vertebral body may also cause fractures.

What are the symptoms of a vertebral compression fracture?

Vertebral body fractures lead to the collapse or compression of a vertebra, causing your spine to shorten and curve forward. This can result in pain and a kyphotic (hunched over) deformity.

How are compression fractures diagnosed?

Compression fractures are seen on regular x-rays, CT scans and MRI scans. An MRI scan is always performed before proceeding with kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty, to ensure precision and accuracy.

Who is a candidate for kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty procedures?

Kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty are generally reserved for people with painful progressive (increasing) back pain caused by osteoporotic or pathological vertebral compression fractures. Candidates for these procedures often have a reduced ability to move and function because of the fractures.

To be a candidate for a kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty, your pain must be related to the vertebral fracture, and must not be due to other problems, such as disk herniation, arthritis, or stenosis (narrowing). Imaging tests — such as spinal x-rays, bone scans and computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans — might be ordered to confirm the presence of a vertebral fracture.

Is it an inpatient or outpatient procedure?

The procedure is performed as an outpatient procedure, not inside a hospital. You’ll be sent home the same day.

What type of anesthesia is used during a kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty procedure?

Kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty are considered minimally invasive procedures that are most often performed using mild sedation and local anesthesia.

What are the benefits of kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty?

The overall success rate for vertebral augmentation in treating osteoporotic fractures is approximately 85% to 90%.1 After the bone cement is inserted into the vertebra (vertebroplasty), 90% have rapid complete or near complete relief of pain and over 75% of patients regain activity.1 You might be symptom free and you won’t have to do physical therapy or rehabilitation.2,3


Kyphoplasty has been shown to reduce mortality at one year compared to patients treated with non-surgical management.4,5 Kyphoplasty is also cost-effective compared to non-surgical management.6

What are the risks of kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty?

Kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty are very low risk. There’s a slight chance you could get an infection, bleeding, increased back pain or numbness, and tingling. If you have osteoporosis, there is a risk of developing additional fractures to other vertebral bodies in your spine.

Is kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty painful?

You may feel sore in the area where the trocar was inserted. However, this should resolve within a couple of days. Applying ice to the area can help relieve any soreness.

How effective are kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty?

Kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty usually provide pain relief and improved mobility (movement) within 48 hours of the procedure. In some cases, however, you may feel pain relief immediately.

When can I get back to my normal activity?

Most patients are satisfied with the results, with many returning to most of their usual activities they were performing before the vertebral fracture.

What happens after the procedure?

You’ll need someone to drive you home following the kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty. You can return to normal activities, but we recommend avoiding strenuous activities such as heavy lifting for at least six weeks.

You might feel pain relief right away, or it might take a few days. Pain caused by the procedure itself should be gone within two to three days.

Keep the bandage on for two days. Take showers instead of baths. Listen to any other instructions from your healthcare provider.