Kyphoplasty (also called “balloon kyphoplasty”) is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that is used to repair vertebral compression fractures by using a small surgical balloon and a specialized material called bone cement. The small balloon is inserted into the area of the fracture and inflated to a size that brings the damaged vertebra back to its approximate original height. Then, the bone cement is injected into the void created by the balloon. This cement then hardens and stabilizes the fractured area. Kyphoplasty is technically a variation on a similar procedure called vertebroplasty, in which bone cement is injected into the fracture without the use of the surgical balloon.

Kyphoplasty may be used to repair fractures caused by:

  • Traumatic injury
  • Spinal tumor pressure
  • Osteoporosis
  • Bone disease

Since being developed in the 1990s, kyphoplasty is still considered a fairly new procedure. Because of this, it faces some skepticism regarding its efficacy and necessity, particularly in cases where the compression fractures have been brought on by osteoporosis. Even so, the manufacturer of the surgical balloon (Medtronic) maintains that studies have shown significant kyphoplasty-related benefits like reduced back pain, lasting restoration of vertebral height, improvement in mobility/quality of life and reduction in days per month patients spend in bed due to pain.

Another significant patient benefit of kyphoplasty is that it only takes about an hour per fracture level and can be performed as a convenient outpatient procedure. In addition, the minimally invasive nature of the surgery means it has a low risk of complications.

If you have suffered vertebral collapse due to compression fractures and would like to know more about the option of undergoing kyphoplasty to reduce pain, regain height and improve spinal stability, contact our office to set up an appointment to discuss your thoughts one-on-one with Dr. Neece.