Kyphoplasty

Surgery Overview

Kyphoplasty (say "KY-foh-plas-tee") is a procedure for your back. It is done to relieve pain from compression fractures of the spine. It can return your vertebrae to a more normal shape.

Your doctor may numb the area, or you may get medicine to make you sleep. The doctor makes a small cut in your back. Then the doctor puts a balloon device into a vertebra. The doctor inflates the balloon and then deflates it. Then a substance that works like cement is put into the space created by the balloon.

It takes about 1 to 2 hours to treat each vertebra. You may go home that day, or you may spend the night in the hospital.

Most people are able to go back to their normal activities within a day.

How Well It Works

Experts looked at a large group of studies of kyphoplasty. They found that there is no strong evidence that kyphoplasty is better than nonsurgical treatment, such as pain medicine, rest, and exercise. These experts believe kyphoplasty may be an option for some people. footnote 1

Risks

Possible problems from the surgery include:

  • Allergic reactions.
  • Nerve damage.
  • Infection.
  • A blood clot that travels to the lung (pulmonary embolism).

Problems are more common when more than one vertebra is treated at the same time.

Talk to your doctor about how kyphoplasty compares with other treatments you might have.

References

Citations

  1. Esses SI, et al. (2011). The treatment of symptomatic osteoporotic spinal compression fractures. Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 19(3): 176–182. Also available online: http://www.aaos.org/research/guidelines/guide.asp.

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