What does the treatment of spinal fractures using kyphoplasty involve?

  • 50 000

    Every year, 50,000 patients are affected by a spinal compression fracture.

This type of fracture causes pain that lowers patients’ quality of life. If left untreated, it can lead to chronic back pain and posture issues.
If kyphoplasty is performed sufficiently early, it can help relieve pain and enable the patient to quickly resume their everyday activities.

Our team comprising radiologists, anesthesiologists, rheumatologists and pain specialists offers multidisciplinary treatment of spinal compression fractures to enable a rapid diagnosis, symptomatic treatment and a complete assessment of any underlying conditions such as osteoporosis.

What is kyphoplasty?

Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure performed by an interventional radiologist. It involves inflating a balloon inside the fractured vertebra to create a cavity into which a special bone cement (plastic polymer) is then injected.

The aim of the procedure is to provide almost immediate relief from debilitating spinal pain caused by the fracture, stabilize the fractured vertebra and restore any height lost due to compression.

The patient can choose to undergo the procedure under general anesthesia or conscious sedation. Post-procedure monitoring takes place either in our outpatient department (ambulatory care) or during a one-night hospital stay.

What is the purpose of kyphoplasty?

The aim of the procedure is two-fold:

  • Provide almost immediate pain relief enabling significant improvement of mobility for everyday activities
  • Stabilize the fracture by stopping the compression process, thus preventing progressive deformity (hunched posture) and its consequences on the entire spine, including multiple compression fractures which can rapidly lead to hyperkyphosis (an exaggerated forward rounding, or “hunching” of the back). 

A biopsy (tissue sample) is systematically performed during the procedure to rule out the presence of another condition such as cancer or hematologic disease.


  • 1

    Using modern image-guided techniques and latest-generation radiology equipment, an interventional radiologist inserts a needle into the fractured vertebra through a small incision approximately one millimeter long.

  • 2

    Under x-ray guidance, a balloon is inserted into the fractured vertebra.

  • 3

    The balloon is then inflated in order to “straighten” the vertebra and restore the bone to its initial height.

  • 4

    The interventional radiologist injects a plastic polymer (a liquid substance generally referred to as “cement”) to fill in the vertebra. When the bone is deemed sufficiently filled, the needle is removed and the procedure is over.

How should I prepare for a kyphoplasty procedure?

Kyphoplasty is performed in our interventional radiology unit. Because our team is multidisciplinary, not only can you undergo the procedure to obtain relief from your fracture-induced pain, you can also receive a complete assessment of any underlying diseases such as osteoporosis.

  • Prior to the procedure, you will have a consultation with an interventional radiologist who will explain the procedure and answer your questions.
  • On the day of the procedure, you will be accompanied to the interventional radiology room, which is like a traditional operating room but equipped with a C-arm X-ray imaging system that guides the interventional radiologist throughout the procedure.
  • Kyphoplasty causes little pain and can be performed under local anesthesia with conscious sedation, or general anesthesia, depending on the patient’s wishes and any anesthesia contraindications. For maximum comfort and safety, an anesthesiologist and nurse will remain by your side throughout the procedure, which lasts approximately one hour.
  • After the procedure, all that remains is an incision a few millimeters long that requires no stitches and will heal within a few days. You will therefore be able to walk immediately upon returning to your room.
  • Patients generally feel relief from their fracture-induced pain very quickly after the procedure. Some pain at the puncture site may persist for 48 hours.

The interventional radiology unit of the American Hospital of Paris is particularly committed to managing patients’ postoperative pain. The interventional radiologist and the anesthesiologist are in constant contact with the inpatient and outpatient nursing teams to provide optimal care for any pain patients experience after the procedure.

In addition, the American Hospital of Paris has an interventional radiologist and an anesthesiologist on call 24/7 in the event of a problem or question following the procedure.

Patients typically recover at home very quickly following kyphoplasty. Most resume a level of everyday activity similar to what they had before their fracture, in less than 48 hours.

The patient returns for a consultation one month after the procedure to assess their progress.

What are the outcomes of kyphoplasty?

Kyphoplasty significantly relieves pain caused by spinal compression fractures, with success rates of around 90 percent for acute fractures, at least 80 percent for chronic fractures, and 60 to 85 percent for fractures linked to bone metastasis.

Kyphoplasty also improves mobility in more than 85 percent of cases of acute fracture and at least 50 percent of cases of chronic fracture.

The procedure also allows more than 91 percent of patients to reduce their consumption of pain killers.

What are the side effects and complications of kyphoplasty?

The risk of significant complications after kyphoplasty is very low: The rate of symptomatic complications is lower than 2 percent.

Complications may include:

- Infection of the vertebral body, often requiring long-term antibiotic treatment

- Hematoma caused when the needle accidentally punctures a blood vessel

- Leakage of cement when it is injected. While most leakage is negligible and asymptomatic, in rare cases it can spread to the foraminal or epidural area, causing radicular pain or spinal cord compression.

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