Vertebroplasty & Kyphoplasty


What are Vertebroplasty and Balloon Kyphoplasty?

Vertebroplasty and balloon Kyphoplasty are minimally invasive procedures which treat spine fractures caused by osteoporosis, tumors, and cancer. Both procedures involve the injection of bone cement into the vertebral body, through needled placed, using real time biplane image guidance. This cement creates an internal cast. The goal is to relieve pain, reduce future fracture risk, and spinal deformity which often accompanies compression fractures.

Balloon kyphoplasty involves stabilizing or reducing the fracture with a balloon device and upon removal, cement is injected into the space. Kyphoplasty can help to straighten the spine and prevent additional fractures. With vertebroplasty, cement is injected into the vertebral body to stabilize the fracture. The type of procedure performed is dependent upon the location and severity of the fracture as well as the length of time since the fracture occurred.

How Do I Prepare for the Procedure?

An MRI will be performed prior to treatment to determine the extent and exact location of the fracture. We will contact you to schedule the MRI. If you cannot have an MRI because of a pacemaker or stimulator, a bone scan can be performed. Upon examination of the MRI, we will contact you to schedule your appointment. Intervenous (IV) conscious sedation will be administered, so a driver is required. Plan 1 hour for each repaired fracture plus a 3 to 4 hour recovery time.

What Happens During the Procedure?

You will be asked to lie face down on the operating table. You will receive sedation through an IV which is placed in your arm. Sleepiness or slight memory loss is common. Once sedation has been administered, the interventional radiologist makes a small incision in the back. Guided by live time x-ray, the doctor introduces a needle into the fractured vertebral body. The fracture is filled with bone cement. With balloon kyphoplasty, the fractured bone is expanded with a balloon device leaving a cavity in the vertebral body. The balloon is removed and cement is injected into the cavity created by the balloon. The cement forms an internal cast which dries in about 15 minutes and the incision is stitched.

Benefits and Risks

Overall, 9 out of 10 patients experience sustained pain relief and increased mobility. Narcotic use and bed rest is less than non-surgically treated patients. Left untreated VCF’s are associated with an increased risk of further collapse, future fractures, chronic pain, spinal deformity and kyphosis.

Although the complication rate is low, vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty have risks to be considered including: infection, complications from sedation and, cement leakage which can cause pain or paralysis. Our radiologist will thoroughly explain risks and benefits prior to the procedure.

Folowing the Procedure

You will be moved into recovery for 3-4 hours. You can resume to normal activities the next day. Any special instructions will be given to you after the procedure. Pain relief and increased mobility may be immediate or take a few days. We will call you in two weeks to check in and see how you are doing.


  • MRI
  • MRA
  • CT Scan
  • CTA
  • Digital Mammography
  • Fluoroscopy
  • X-RAY

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