Kyphoplasty

Kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty are surgeries that are done to try to relieve pain from compression fractures of the spine by stabilizing the broken bone with a substance that works like cement. These surgeries are not done very often, because most fractures heal on their own. Fractures can happen because of osteoporosis, tumors, or other conditions.

Symptoms

Compression fractures, which may involve the collapse of one or more vertebrae in the spine, are a common symptom and result of osteoporosis. They are also sometimes caused by trauma or cancer. Kyphoplasty is a non-surgical spinal procedure used to treat painful, progressive vertebral fractures.

How does Kyphoplasty work?

During kyphoplasty surgery, a small incision is made in the back through which the doctor places a narrow tube. Using fluoroscopy to guide it to the correct position, the tube creates a path through the back into the fractured area through the pedicle of the involved vertebrae.

Using X-ray images, the doctor inserts a special balloon through the tube and into the vertebrae, then gently and carefully inflates it. As the balloon inflates, it elevates the fracture, returning the pieces to a more normal position. It also compacts the soft inner bone to create a cavity inside the vertebrae.

The balloon is removed and the doctor uses specially designed instruments under low pressure to fill the cavity with a cement-like material called polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA). After being injected, the pasty material hardens quickly, stabilizing the bone.