What Is Kyphoplasty and How Can It Help My Back Pain?


If you had to guess the most common fracture from osteoporosis, chances are you’d pick hip or wrist fractures. Surprisingly, there is a much more common culprit: spinal compressions, which occur in more than 700,000 patients each year.

Officially known as osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures, this type of fracture causes severe, debilitating pain. Compression fractures are generally resistant to conventional fracture treatments of bedrest, anti-inflammatories, spinal bracing and even opioid pain relievers.

Kyphosis and back pain

Osteoporosis — which causes bone to lose its density, mass and strength — and cancer treatments can leave the spine weak and susceptible to fractures. Spinal compressions also can lead to a pronounced forward-leaning curve of the spine known as kyphosis.

Our team of experts at the St. Elizabeth Spine Center offers a minimally invasive spine surgery called kyphoplasty to heal the compression fractures and restore the vertebra’s height. The procedure helps reduce back pain and stabilizes the spine.

“The goals of kyphoplasty are to reduce pain and lessen the risk of chronic conditions associated with kyphosis, such as worsening lung function,” saysDr. Lance Hoffman, a Spine Specialist at the St. Elizabeth Spine Center. “Kyphoplasty has excellent evidence for both short-term and long-term pain control.”

What is kyphoplasty?

During kyphoplasty, a balloon-like device is used to create a space in the compressed vertebrae. The balloon lifts the vertebrae into its normal position and creates a space inside the vertebrae. A special cement is then placed into the vertebrae to hold the height of the vertebrae and stabilize the spine. After the cement is in place, the balloon is removed. Kyphoplasty is also referred to as balloon vertebroplasty.

Kyphoplasty is an outpatient procedure, and you typically go home the same day. Kyphoplasty has many benefits, including short recovery time and minimal pain. Most kyphoplasty patients return to normal activities quickly.

“Several studies have shown kyphoplasty to have superior results in reducing the severity of vertebral body wedging, improving vertebral body height and decreasing the risk of leakage of cement outside the vertebral body,” says Dr. Hoffman. “St. Elizabeth has been offering kyphoplasty for several years with extremely positive results.”

Are you a candidate for kyphoplasty?

If you have a recent compression fracture from osteoporosis or cancer treatments, you may benefit from kyphoplasty. Please note that kyphoplasty isn’t a preventative procedure, even for osteoporosis. Also, if the spinal deformity or fracture is well established, kyphoplasty might not be an option. Our team of spine experts will give you a comprehensive evaluation and make a recommendation to fit your needs.

If you would like to learn more about Dr. Hoffman and the other experts at the St. Elizabeth Spine Center, please call (859) 212-7000 or visit stelizabeth.com/spine.