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Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty

Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are procedures in which a special cement is injected into a fractured vertebra with the goal of relieving your spinal pain and restoring your mobility. The only difference between the two procedures is that a kyphoplasty involves an additional step; before injecting the cement, a balloon-like device is inserted into the vertebral body to help restore some of the lost vertebral height and reduce deformity.

Both procedures can be highly transformative, restoring mobility and quality of life. To learn which procedure you might need for a spinal fracture, you’ll first need to undergo a consultation with one of our spine specialists. Using a collaborative approach, our surgeons recommend the best treatment option for your condition.

Your doctor may recommend one of these procedures if:

  • Traditional methods of treating your fractured vertebra or back pain fail
  • You suffer from severe or prolonged pain or immobility
  • The fractured vertebra has led to more serious complications, including: Deep vein thrombosis, acceleration of osteoporosis, respiratory problems, loss of height and emotional or social issues.

What Should I Expect After the Procedure?

  • Your doctor will typically have you lie on your back for 1 hour while the cement hardens.
  • You will likely remain in an observation room for an additional 1 to 2 hours.
  • You may experience pain relief almost immediately after the procedure, but for some it might take up to 72 hours. Your doctor can provide you with over-the-counter pain relievers for the temporary discomfort.
  • Your doctor will assess your pain and check for any possible complications.
  • You may need to continue wearing a back brace, but it’s usually unnecessary.
  • You will come back for a follow-up appointment in a few weeks.

Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty Risks

Vertebroplasty is generally well-tolerated, with small risk of minor complications. Side effects may include hemorrhaging, blood loss, fractures of ribs or other nearby bones, fever, nerve root irritation, infection and cement flowing outside of the bone before it hardens.

Vertebroplasty can worsen the pain for a few hours while the cement cures, but that rarely happens and does not last long. You may face other risks depending on your specific condition, so talk to your doctor beforehand about any concerns.

Who is a Candidate for Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty?

Most of the time, these procedures are used to treat compression fractures from osteoporosis. At Pro Spine & Pain, we only recommend these treatments if conservative options such as pain medication, physical therapy, back bracing, and rest have been ineffective.

Kyphoplasty doctors may also refer you for these procedures if you:

  • Have a vertebral compression from a malignant tumor
  • Are elderly or have impaired bone healing from a fracture
  • Are diagnosed with osteoporosis because of long-term steroid treatment from a metabolic disorder

The recovery time for vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty can depend on the fracture type and your lifestyle. If it’s an acute fracture, the earliest time it can take to heal is eight weeks; however, it may take longer if the fracture is more serious.

How do Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty Work?

Before having a vertebroplasty, you will have a consultation with one of our spine specialists who will most likely refer you for diagnostic imaging tests (X-rays or MRI scans). If you and your doctor decide to move forward with this procedure, they will likely advise you to stop taking blood thinners and inflammatory medications several days prior. They’ll also ask you to fast several hours prior, to reduce the risk of complications.


  1. You will be given general anesthesia to ensure your comfort throughout the procedure.
  2. A fine needle is inserted along your spine towards your fractured vertebra. A fluoroscopy will be used to ensure an accurate needle placement to ensure it reaches the fracture.
  3. When the needle is positioned, your surgeon will use a fast bone-setting cement, injecting it into the fracture. The cement quickly fills and helps stabilize the fracture.
  4. Once the cement hardens, you should experience additional support and a reduction in pain.


The procedure for a kyphoplasty is slightly similar to a vertebroplasty.

If you’re to have this procedure, your physician will typically:

  1. Administer general anesthetia through an IV to ensure a pain-free procedure.
  2. A small incision is made and a cannula is inserted along the spine, reaching your fractured vertebra. Fluoroscopy to help ensure the correct placement of the cannula.
  3. Once in position, a special balloon is inserted into the collapsed vertebra. The balloon is inserted to create a cavity, helping restore some of the height.
  4. Next, the balloon is removed, leaving a space for the cavity.
  5. Bone cement is inserted into the cavity left by the balloon to help stabilize the fractured vertebra.

These are both outpatient procedures that take around 60 minutes to complete. After the procedure, you will be kept in for observation for one hour, monitoring your heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen, and pulse as you come out of anesthesia.

You may be discharged the same day and be prescribed pain medication and antibiotics to lower the risk of infection. Sometimes, there can be a likelihood of being admitted for an overnight stay.


Are Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty Major Surgeries?

Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are both minimally invasive surgeries, as only a small incision is made to your skin instead of a large one. On average, these procedures about an hour to complete, depending on the type of fracture you have.

How Long Does It Take to Recover From a Vertebroplasty or Kyphoplasty?

Often, the soreness should go away on its own in a few days. Most patients return to their daily activities a few weeks following the procedure.

What Is Another Name for Kyphoplasty?

This surgery can also be called a balloon vertebroplasty.

Updated on Apr 25, 2024 by Dr. Thomas Stauss (Pain Management) of Pro Spine & Pain

Thomas Stauss, MD

Thomas Stauss, MD, completed both his undergraduate and medical studies at the esteemed University of Wisconsin in Madison. Dr. Stauss values having access to a wide array of cutting-edge treatment options, ensuring effective relief for his patients' discomfort and a significant enhancement in their quality of life. More specifically, he specializes in utilizing implanted devices to manage chronic pain. Dr. Stauss’s primary objective is to uphold the dignity of each patient while delivering ethical and professional services.

More about Dr. Stauss