Kyphoplasty 101

People who suffered from vertebral pain due to osteoarthritis used to have to rely on pain medication in order to dull the deafening pain of spinal vertebrae compression fractures. Luckily, a persistent orthopedic surgeon out of Berkeley, California, named Mark Reily, had an idea. He started testing methods in 1984, and after several successful trials, in 1999, the procedure was introduced to the modern healthcare system. Since then, kyphoplasty has helped millions of people suffering from spinal pain due to compression fractures.

How can kyphoplasty help you?

 If you have osteoarthritis, you’ve probably felt the pain of breaking a bone. Suffering from any bone fracture is excruciating, but with little ability to effectively heal vertebrae compression fractures before kyphoplasty, you probably would have found it hard to stand and function at most times. Luckily, kyphoplasty can help you gain function of your crushed vertebrae again – fixing your pain, and your posture.

What is needed to perform a kyphoplasty?

 Kyphoplasty, a minimally invasive procedure, uses some of the more modern techniques of medicine in order to restructure the crushed vertebra. To do this, the doctor will use a balloon tamp to extend the cavity within the targeted bone. The balloon is removed during the treatment. Additionally, a specialized cement mixture, created to mimic the function of real bone, is used to hold the bone in its corrected position.

What is it like to receive a kyphoplasty procedure?

 If you’re suffering from crushed a crushed vertebra, you’re probably anxious in more ways than one to schedule your kyphoplasty procedure. One, because you’ll enjoy a life with less pain, and two, because undergoing any medical procedure, even one as safe as kyphoplasty, can be scary. Just remember, the sooner you get it done, the sooner you get relief.

When you arrive for your kyphoplasty, you’ll change into a medical gown before resting on the table. You’ll be placed under general anesthesia, and the doctor will make a small, about a half-inch incision over the targeted vertabra.

Then, your doctor will use a special X-ray machine, called a fluoroscopy, to a tube through the fracture and into the bone. Subsequently, a unique type of balloon, known as a tamp, will be inserted into the area, where it will be slowly inflated until it has hollowed out the cavern enough, and restructured the bone. Once this happens, the balloon tamp is removed.

A bone cement is then delivered through the tube into your vertebra, where it hardens into a bonelike material – leaving you with a strong, solid vertebra.

Your doctor may need to repeat this procedure on the other side, or on another crushed vertebra.

Once your vertebrae have been repaired, your doctor will close the incision, and you’ll be taken to a recovery room where you’ll rest until the anesthesia haze wears away. Your doctor will probably recommend a regular icing regimen, along with oral anti-inflammatories.

Because your surgeon will only make a small incision, you may find healing is faster than other procedures.

Go pain-free today and schedule your kyphoplasty!


Courtney W. Brown, MD., Douglas C. Wong, MD. (2009, March 24). Description of Kyphoplasty Surgery. Spine-health. Retrieved from

Matthew Herper. (2004, June 07). Doctors are realigning broken backs with an injection of a small balloon. Forbes. Retrieved from

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