Patients' Guide To
Spinal Fractures & Kyphoplasty

How Balloon Kyphoplasty Works

Step by Step

Balloon kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive treatment for spinal compression fractures (also called vertebral compression fractures of VCFs). Kyphoplasty is similar to vertebroplasty; the main difference is that kyphoplasty uses a small balloon that gently lifts bone fragments into their correct position.

To help you best understand the procedure, below is a step-by-step look at how kyphoplasty is performed.

  • Creating a space for the balloon
    The surgeon will make a pathway into the fractured vertebra using a hollow instrument. A small balloon is then guided through the instrument into the bone.
  • Inflating the balloon
    Once in position, the balloon is slowly inflated to gently raise the collapsed bone into its normal position.
  • Removing the balloon
    When the bone is in the correct position, the surgeon deflates and removes the balloon. This leaves behind a void—or cavity—within the vertebral body.
  • Filling the vertebral void
    To prevent the bone from collapsing again, the void is filled with orthopaedic cement.
  • Forming the internal cast
    Once set, the cement forms a cast inside the vertebral body that stabilizes the bone. To fully secure the bone, the procedure is sometimes performed on both sides of the vertebral body.

Balloon kyphoplasty usually takes about a half hour per level, and most patients are discharged from the hospital within a day of their surgery. If you think kyphoplasty may be a treatment option for your spinal compression fractures—or if you’re interested in learning more about this surgery—talk to your doctor.

Updated on: 01/22/14
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Benefits of Balloon Kyphoplasty

Balloon kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive surgery for spinal compression fractures. Minimally invasive procedures offer many benefits for patients, and this article details those that are specific to kyphoplasty. It also includes information on post-operative care.
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