First Time User? Sign Up Now
For the visually-impaired, please click here.
Home > Health Library > Kyphoplasty and Vertebroplasty
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.
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.
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.
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.footnote 1
Possible problems from the surgeries include:
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.
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.
Current as of:
August 7, 2019
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Kathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineMartin J. Gabica MD - Family MedicineCarla J. Herman MD, MPH - Geriatric Medicine
Current as of: August 7, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & Carla J. Herman MD, MPH - Geriatric Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2020 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.