Kyphoplasty is a procedure to treat compression fractures and is commonly done under general anesthesia in an operating room. In kyphoplasty, a balloon catheter, similar to the one used in angioplasty of the heart, is guided into the vertebral body and inflated with a liquid under pressure. As the balloon inflates, it can help to actively restore the collapse in the vertebra caused by the fracture. After the balloon is completely inflated, it is deflated and removed. The large cavity created by the enlarged balloon is filled with bone cement. The cement then hardens in place, maintaining any correction of collapse or wedging of the bone.
Why should patients consider kyphoplasty?
- Kyphoplasty can be very helpful when there is a severe collapse of the broken vertebra or wedging, with more collapse in the front of the spine than the back resulting in the spine tending to tilt forward.
- By correcting the wedging, kyphoplasty may help restore the spine to more normal alignment and prevent severe “hunchback” deformity to the spine.
- In someone who has had multiple fractures with previous wedging, kyphoplasty can prevent further worsening of the deformity.