What is kyphoplasty surgery?

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Kyphoplasty surgery is a medical procedure that is prescribed for patients with fractures in their spine or vertebral column.  In patients with compression injuries involving part of the spine for example, kyphoplasty may be done to help relieve the pain and restore the original structure of the vertebral column.  Through kyphoplasty surgery, pressure is removed on various parts of the spine and therefore pain relief may be achieved and some associated symptoms will also get better.

For patients that develop compression fractures in the spinal column, pain is the most common complaint.  The compression may be caused by degeneration in the bony parts of the spine as in the case of osteoarthritis.  With this kind of arthritic condition, the bones in the spine will slowly become brittle and undergo compression.  As more structures deteriorate, various parts of the spinal column will press upon each other causing severe pain.  The same compression may also result from other conditions such as cancer and trauma to the spinal area.  This pain may only be relieved by easing the compression through procedures such as kyphoplasty surgery.

As a surgical procedure, kyphoplasty may either be done on an admitted patient or as an outpatient procedure depending on the severity of the condition.  The basic procedure involves insertion of a needle to the spinal column and inflation of a balloon that will help restore the configuration of the spine to near-normal levels.  The inflation part initially gives relief to the compression pain and serves to stabilize the spine for the insertion of a cement-like substance on the affected parts. This substance will harden and will serve as replacement to the degraded parts of the spinal column.  The ballooning part of the surgery is a big part of the process and this is the reason why some people refer to it as balloon kyphoplasty.

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