As in vertebroplasty, a patient undergoing kyphoplasty lies face down. The physician advances a thin tube into the fractured vertebra from an incision in the back. Through the tube, the physician drills a small hole through the hard, outer part of the bone and into its softer center. This provides a pathway for the physician to insert a special balloon into the interior of the vertebra, which is then inflated. This pushes apart the caps, or end plates, of the fractured vertebra, and restores the vertebra to its original shape as much as possible. The balloon is then deflated and removed, leaving a cavity that the physician fills with bone cement. Either local anesthesia or general anesthesia may be used in these procedures.
Kyphoplasty can be performed on patients who: