What is Balloon Kyphoplasty?
Balloon kyphoplasty, also known as balloon vertebroplasty, is a minimally-invasive procedure that repairs a vertebral compression fracture. Vertebral fractures are most common in the elderly, as osteoporosis, the thinning of bones, affects their spine. Once a fracture has occurred, they can lead to the collapse of a vertebra if not treated in a timely manner
What Does Balloon Kyphoplasty Treat?
Balloon kyphoplasty treats vertebral compression fractures. Vertebral compression fractures can occur from osteoporosis, physical trauma such as car accidents, falls, and high impact sports. Patients with vertebral compression fractures often have sudden onset back pain, and have pain while standing or walking.
How Does the Balloon Kyphoplasty Procedure Work?
During the minimally-invasive balloon kyphoplasty procedure, the patient will lie on their stomach. Local or general anesthesia is used to prevent pain and discomfort for the patient. Using the guidance of fluoroscopy, the physician will guide a needle through the skin of the back and into the fractured vertebra. A balloon device is inserted through the needle, into the cavity within the vertebra.
The balloon is carefully inflated to expand the fractured bone. The balloon is then deflated and removed from the bone, leaving a cavity. The physician will then inject bone cement into the cavity, filling it fully. The bone cement hardens, creating stability within the vertebra.
The needle is removed and the incision is closed by the surgeon. The patient is monitored in a recovery room before being released. The patient will need someone else to drive them home following the procedure. Patients may experience initial discomfort, and most patients may return to their normal routine within 24 hours, however any activity that can strain the spine, such as lifting heavy objects, should be avoided for up to 6 weeks.
What are the Risks?
Although the complication rate for balloon kyphoplasty is low, all surgical procedures have risk of infection, and procedures that uses general or local anesthesia have risks of anesthetic complications. The balloon kyphoplasty procedure is considered to be low risk, however complications including leakage of bone cement, can occur. Balloon Kyphoplasty is a minimally-invasive procedure, which has substantially lower risk of complications, including infection, when compared to open surgery.
Benefits of Balloon Kyphoplasty
After the procedure, most patients are able to be active again, requiring minimal to no rehabilitation. By creating this support in the vertebrae, patients are able to return to their normal lives, without constantly worrying about minimizing pain.
Two manufacturers offer Balloon Kyphoplasty procedures:
For more information on Balloon Kyphoplasty offered by Stryker, visit their website at
For more information on Balloon Kyphoplasty offered by Medtronic, visit their website at