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Vertebroplasties and kyphoplasties are performed for vertebral compression fractures that continue to cause pain even after completion of conservative therapy (back brace, bed rest, NSAIDs, and pain medications). The most common cause of vertebral compression fractures is osteoporosis. Other causes include trauma, multiple myeloma, metastatic tumor that has advanced into the vertebral body, and hemangiomas.

Both vetebroplasty and kyphoplasty are procedures that involve the injection of medical cement into the fracture. This injection decreases pain and may restore some height to the compressed bone. Kyphoplasty differs from vertebroplasty because it involves inflating a balloon in the vertebral body to restore vertebral height prior to the injection of cement.

How It Works

Kyphoplasties and vertebroplasties are performed under live fluoroscopic guidance to ensure the accuracy and safety of this procedure.

  • You will be asked to lay on your stomach.
  • Your back will be cleaned with an antiseptic, and a steroid drape will be placed.
  • Your Center for Pain Management physician will guide a needle(s) toward the affected vertebral level¬† under continued x-ray guidance.
  • The injection needle will be seated into a portion of the bone called the vertebral body.
  • During a kyphoplasty, a small balloon will be inflated to help restore the vertebral body height and provide a cavity for the cement that will be injected.
  • During a vertebroplasty, a balloon will not be used, but cement will be injected into the fracture.
  • The cement quickly hardens when exposed to our body temperature.
  • The needle(s) will be removed, and a sterile dressing will be applied.
  • You may be asked to lie flat for 15-30 minutes after the procedure.

Patients often feel immediate relief of their pain after this procedure.


Similar to any other procedure or medication, there are potential risks (although very low) of infection, bleeding, allergic reaction, and prolonged increases in pain. Although extremely rare, there is a risk of the cement leaking out of the vertebrae and into the spinal canal, causing pain in the spinal cord and nerves. Your Center for Pain Management physician uses continued x-ray guidance and sterile techniques throughout the procedure to significantly reduce these risks.