Reasons Someone Might Need Kyphoplasty

Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive spine surgery begun in 1998 that is given to patients who have sustained one or more vertebral fractures. The Journal of Imaging Technology Management reports that 40% of women over the age of 50 are at risk for fracture at some time in their life. 

Vertebral fractures are common in persons with osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition that tends to be associated with aging (although it has other causes, as well.) As we age, our bone mass decreases, and the risk for osteoporosis increases. 

When you fracture a spinal bone (called a compression fracture) the body of the vertebra is affected. This can cause the bone to lose height. A kyphoplasty is done to heal the fracture and restore the vertebra's height.

Other reasons for a kyphoplasty include:

  • Stopping the pain associated with the fracture
  • Stabilize the vertebra

What Happens During This Surgery

In a kyphoplasty, the surgeon uses fluoroscopy (camera-guided assistance) to insert and then inflate a balloon. Medical grade cement is inserted into the vertebral body to give it more height. Kyphoplasty is similar to vertebroplasty in that both involve inserting cement to help heal the bone. But the kyphoplasty goes further with the balloon. Kyphoplasty is also called balloon kyphoplasty.

If you have a kyphoplasty, you'll probably stay overnight at the hospital.

A 2013 study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (American version) found that both kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty seem to be associated with a longer life when compared to non-surgical procedures. The authors say this is more true of kyphoplasty than it is of vertebroplasty. The only problem is, they note, kyphoplasty is very costly. And, the authors suggest that kyphoplasty patients may more readily get compression fractures in the future.

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Article Sources

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  • Chen A., Cohen D., Skolasky R. Impact of nonoperative treatment, vertebroplasty, and kyphoplasty on survival and morbidity after vertebral compression fracture in the Medicare population. J Bone Joint Surg Am. Oct. 2013.
  • Shinkman, Ron. Osteoporosis Diagnosis: Adding Fracture Risk Assessment. The Journal of Imaging Technology Management. April 2005. Retrieved from: January 26, 2006