The Condition: Spinal Fractures

Osteoporosis causes more than 700,000 spinal fractures each year in the U.S. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, this is more than twice the annual number of hip fractures.

Spinal fractures can also be caused by cancer, the most common being multiple myeloma, breast, lung and prostate. According to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, the majority of patients with multiple myeloma – some 70 to 95% have progressive metastatic bone disease particularly in the spine, which increases the risk of fractures.

Some spinal fractures may collapse immediately while others collapse over time. Left untreated, one fracture can lead to subsequent fractures, often resulting in a condition called kyphosis, or rounded back. Kyphosis, signified by the dowager’s hump, compresses the chest and abdominal cavity, resulting in serious negative health consequences.

Balloon Kyphoplasty Outcomes

Balloon Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive, orthopaedic treatment that stabilizes spinal fractures, thereby reducing pain and correcting vertebral deformity. Studies report the following benefits:

    Correction of vertebral body deformity

    Significant reduction in back pain

    Significant improvement in quality of life

    Significant improvement in mobility, including the ability to perform daily activities such as walking, hobbies and work

    Significant reduction in the number of days per month that a patient remains in bed

The Balloon Kyphoplasty Procedure

    Using a needle and tube, the spine specialist creates a small pathway into the fractured bone. A small, orthopaedic balloon is guided through the tube into the vertebra. The incision site is approximately 1 cm in length.

    The balloon is carefully inflated in an attempt to raise the collapsed vertebra and return it to its normal position. Inflation of the balloon creates a void (cavity) in the vertebral body.

    Once the vertebra is in the correct position, the balloon is deflated and removed.

    The cavity is filled with bone cement forming an “internal cast” to support the surrounding bone and prevent further collapse.

    Generally, the procedure is done on both sides of the vertebral body.

  • The Balloon Kyphoplasty procedure typically takes about one hour per fracture and may require an overnight hospital stay. The procedure can be done using either local or general anesthesia; the surgeon will determine the most appropriate method, based on the patient’s overall condition.
  • In most cases, Medicare provides coverage for Balloon Kyphoplasty. Other insurance plans often also cover the procedure.

Kyphoplasty Video



Vertebroplasty is a procedure that offers relief to patients suffering prolonged and debilitating pain from compression fractures in the spinal vertebrae. It involves injecting bone cement into the vertebrae to stabilize fractures, and results in significant pain relief and restoration of mobility in many patients.

Vertebroplasty Video

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