Kyphoplasty and Vertebroplasty

Topic Overview

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.

Kyphoplasty

Your doctor may numb the area, or you may get medicine to make you sleep. The doctor makes a small cut in your back and puts a balloon device into the fractured vertebra. The doctor inflates the balloon and then deflates it. Then he or she puts a substance that works like cement into the space created by the balloon. It takes 1 to 2 hours to treat each vertebra.

You may go home that day, or you may spend the night in the hospital.

Vertebroplasty

After giving you a local anesthetic, the doctor puts a needle into your vertebrae and injects the cement substance.

The doctor guides the needle using fluoroscopy. This is a test that can be used to position a needle for a procedure. Vertebroplasty takes 1 to 2 hours. The injection usually takes only about 10 minutes.

The cement mixture hardens in about half an hour. You likely will go home the same day. You may take some pain medicine for a couple of days.

How well do these surgeries work?

Experts looked at a large group of studies of kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty. They found that there is no strong evidence that either kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty is better than nonsurgical treatment, such as pain medicine, rest, and exercise. These experts believe kyphoplasty may be an option for some people, but they do not recommend vertebroplasty.1

Possible problems from the surgeries include:

  • Allergic reactions.
  • Nerve damage.
  • Infection.
  • A blot 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 these surgeries compare with other treatments you might have.

Related Information

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.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Carla J. Herman, MD, MPH - Geriatric Medicine
Last Revised November 6, 2012

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2013 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

First Nurse

First Nurse

Call First Nurse 24 Hours a Day for free health care advice, resources and referrals!

Ames: 515-239-6877
In Iowa: 800-524-6877 

Search health information online in our Mulimedia Health Library.

High Quality Care

Guardian of Excellence

Mary Greeley consistently delivers high quality patient care.

  • 2013 Guardian of Excellence Award for Clinical Quality
  • Grade 'A' Patient Safety from the Leapfrog Group
  • 2013 Top Performer on Key Quality Measures ranking from The Joint Commission
  • Highest percentage bonus of any Iowa hospital in Medicare's quality incentive program

Mary Greeley on Facebook

Like us on Facebook

Patient Privacy | Net Learning for Employees | MGMC PACS for Physicians
Emergency Preparedness

1111 Duff Avenue Ames, IA 50010 - 515-239-2011 - yourhealth.mgmc@mgmc.com

©2014 Mary Greeley Medical Center - All rights reserved.