About the KYPHON® Balloon Kyphoplasty Procedure

The balloon kyphoplasty procedure is minimally invasive and has a low complication rate. During the procedure, orthopedic balloons are used to gently elevate the fractured vertebra in an attempt to return it to the correct position. Balloon kyphoplasty takes up to one hour per fracture level treated. It can be done on an inpatient or outpatient basis, depending on your overall state of health as determined by the physician based on the medical necessity.

Before Your Procedure

Before the procedure, you will have a medical exam and undergo diagnostic studies, such as having X-rays taken, to determine the precise location of the fracture. You and your doctor will decide whether you should have local or general anesthesia.

During Your Procedure

Step 1: Balloon Placement  

Step 1: Balloon Placement

First, a narrow pathway is made into the fractured bone with a hollow instrument. A small orthopedic balloon is guided through the instrument into the vertebral body. Typically, two balloons are used, one on each side of the vertebral body, to better support the bone as it moves back into position and increase the likelihood of deformity correction. The incision site is approximately 1 cm (1/3 inch) in length.

Step 2: Balloon Inflation  

Step 2: Balloon Inflation

Next, the balloons are carefully inflated to gently elevate the fractured vertebra in an attempt to return it to the correct position.

Step 3: Cavity Creation  

Step 3: Cavity Creation

Inflation of the balloons creates a cavity (space) within the vertebral body and compacts the soft, inner bone against the outer wall. The cavity also functions as a repository for the bone cement.

Once the vertebral body is in the correct position, the balloons are deflated and removed.

Step 4: Cavity Fill  

Step 4: Cavity Fill

The cavity is filled with thick bone cement to stabilize the fracture. The bone cement dries quickly and forms an internal cast that holds the vertebral body in place.

After Your Procedure

Patients often experience immediate relief from spinal fracture pain after the procedure. Your doctor will most likely schedule a follow-up visit and explain limitations, if any, on physical activity. Most patients return to their usual activity within a few days.

Important Safety Information

The complication rate with KYPHON® Balloon Kyphoplasty has been demonstrated to be low. There are risks associated with the procedure (for example, cement leakage), including serious complications, and though rare, some of which may be fatal. This procedure is not for everyone. A prescription is required. Please consult your physician for a complete list of indications, contraindications, benefits, and risks. Only you and your physician can determine whether this procedure is right for you.

about the balloon kyphoplasty procedure


  • *†Garfin, S.R., R.A. Buckley, and J. Ledlie, Balloon kyphoplasty for symptomatic vertebral body compression fractures results in rapid, significant, and sustained improvements in back pain, function, and quality of life for elderly patients. Spine, 2006. 31(19): p. 2213-20.
  • *†Ledlie, J.T. and M.B. Renfro, Kyphoplasty treatment of vertebral fractures: 2-year outcomes show sustained benefits. Spine, 2006. 31(1): p. 57-64.
  • *Phillips, F.M., et al., Early radiographic and clinical results of balloon kyphoplasty for the treatment of osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures. Spine, 2003. 28(19): p. 2260-5; discussion 2265-7.

Disclosure: an asterisk (*) denotes that some/all of the authors are paid Medtronic consultants. A cross (†) indicates that research cited may have been funded partially, or in whole, by Medtronic.