Kyphoplasty - Treating Spinal Fractures with Kyphoplasty at Temple University Hospital

What causes spinal fractures?
Osteoporosis, a bone disease in which bones become fragile and are easily broken, causes more than 700,000 spinal fractures in the U.S. each year.

Spinal fractures also can be caused by cancer, most commonly multiple myeloma. When this happens, lesions develop that weaken the bone, causing pain and increasing the risk of fractures.

Some spinal fractures may collapse suddenly while others collapse more slowly. Left untreated, one fracture can lead to subsequent fractures. This often results in a condition called kyphosis, or rounded back. Kyphosis (also called a dowager's hump) can compress the chest and abdominal cavity.

How is kyphosis treated?
Balloon kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive treatment that stabilizes the fracture, reducing pain and providing for correction of the deformity. Before the surgery, you will come to the hospital for a pre-anesthesia evaluation, which will include a history and physical examination as well as all necessary pre-admission testing.

During the procedure
When balloon kyphoplasty is an option, your surgeon creates a small pathway into the fractures bone. A small balloon is guided through the instrument into the vertebra. 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.