A Visual Guide to Understanding Kyphoplasty

Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive surgery that your doctor may recommend if you suffer a spinal compression fracture. Our video walk-through can help you better understand this common procedure.

See Description of Kyphoplasty Surgery

Video highlights

Kyphoplasty (Osteoporosis Fracture Treatment) Video
One of the goals of kyphoplasty is to reduce your pain from a spinal compression fracture.
Watch:
Kyphoplasty (Osteoporosis Fracture Treatment) Video
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Compression fractures

A spinal compression fracture may occur in one of your vertebrae as a result of weakened bones from osteoporosis.

See Osteoporosis Causes

As a result of this type of fracture, the height of the vertebra is normally reduced by 15-20%.

See When Back Pain is a Spine Compression Fracture

The most common place for a compression fracture to occur is the thoracic region of your spine (shown here in purple), but a fracture may also occur in your lumbar spine (commonly referred to as the lower back).

The procedure

Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that is intended to accomplish the following:

  1. Reduce your pain
  2. Stabilize your vertebra
  3. Restore your vertebra to its normal height

To accomplish these goals, your surgeon will first make a small, 1/2 inch incision over the affected area.

He or she will then use X-ray guidance to insert a narrow tube into one side of your fractured vertebra.

Once the tube is inside the vertebral body, a balloon is inserted through the tube and into the fractured vertebra. Once inside the vertebral body, the balloon is then inflated. The image above depicts the balloon as a black circle, restoring height to the collapsed vertebra. After the height has been restored, the balloon is removed—leaving a cavity in the vertebral body.

See Balloon Kyphoplasty: Clinical Evidence for Treating Spinal Fractures

Of note, your surgeon may choose to use a net or a ball instead of a balloon to create the cavity inside your fractured vertebra.

Your surgeon will proceed to fill the bone cavity with a type of bone cement called PMMA, which results in an internal cast inside of your fractured vertebra.

To ensure the best results, your surgeon may also fill the other side of the vertebral body with PMMA.

Once the cavity is filled, your surgeon will close the incision and you will lie face down on the table until the cement hardens—which usually takes 5 minutes.

Kyphoplasty may seem daunting, but the good news is that most patients can go home the same day as the procedure.

Learn more:

Kyphoplasty for an Osteoporosis Fracture

Osteoporosis Treatment

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