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Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure intended to treat painful compression fractures. Compression fractures are most commonly secondary to osteoporosis although rarely they can be secondary to cancer and/or benign tumors. This is a procedure intended to stabilize painful compression fractures.


Kyphoplasty is indicated for patients who are having severe back pain secondary to a compression fracture. Typically, most patients are treated with conservative treatment which may include pain medications and/or bracing, and/or physical therapy for anywhere from two to six weeks after they have a compression fracture. If the compression fracture continues to be painful and is causing severe pain and interfering with a person’s quality of life, then a decision can be made to potentially proceed with a kyphoplasty. If there is any significant amount of bone that is retropulsed back into the spinal canal, then a kyphoplasty may be contraindicated.


This is a procedure to treat acute compression fractures and not chronic compression fractures. It is typically done under general anesthesia. Small stab incisions are made and x-rays are used so that the spine can be accessed accurately. A balloon is inserted through the small incision and a cavity is created at the fracture site. Then following this bone cement is placed into the compression fracture to stabilize it. The procedure takes about 30 minutes per level. Incisions are very small. The cement forms somewhat of an internal cast but stabilizes the compression fracture.


Most patients go home either the same day or the day after the procedure. Most patients notice that the pain they had prior to the procedure is markedly improved. Patients are up and walking the day of surgery and/or the day after surgery. Typically, patients are asked to refrain from any repetitive bending, twisting, or lifting more than five pounds for the first four to six weeks after the procedure.


As with any surgical procedure, there are inherent risks involved. Risks can include risk of anesthesia, bleeding, infection, neurologic injury, spinal fluid leak, blood clots, risk of cement extravasation. These are rare complications.

Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery