What is it? Kyphoplasty/Vertebroplasty is a technique used for treating spinal compression fractures, small breaks in the thick mass of bone that makes up the front part of the vertebra. These fractures usually lead to incapacitating back pain, a reduction in your mobility, a hunched-over deformity, and often a decline in overall health. Thinning of bones, or osteoporosis, is the main cause of vertebral compression fractures.

Why is it done? Kyphoplasty/Vertebroplasty stabilizes the fracture with a cement like material which forms an internal cast and relieves pain. In addition to stabilizing the vertebra and relieving pain, Kyphoplasty/Vertebroplasty attempt to restore the height of the vertebra, thereby straightening out the spinal curve.

How is it done? You will be given an intravenous medication to relax you and positioned on your stomach. The doctor will numb an area of skin on your back or neck with local anesthetic. Using x-ray guidance:

  • A hollow needle, called a trocar, is guided into the fractured vertebra through a small puncture in the skin
  • Contrast dye is injected to confirm needle placement
  • Once the trocar is in place, a balloon may be inflated to open up the space and the bone cement is injected
  • The trocar is removed and the cement hardens within the next 10 minutes

What can I expect after the injection? Kyphoplasty/Vertebroplasty usually provide pain relief and improved mobility within 48 hours of the procedures. In some cases, however, patients feel pain relief immediately. You may experience tenderness at the procedure site for several days. Over the counter pain relievers and the application of ice to the injection site are helpful to relieve any discomfort.

When can I resume my normal activities? You can continue your regular diet and medications after discharge. If you receive sedation, you may not drive or operate heavy machinery for 12 hours. Avoid any strenuous activity for 24hours. You can return to your normal activities the next day. If you have questions or concerns about what to do for the 24–48 hours after your procedure, please ask the nurse for clarification.