Spine FACTs


About Balloon Kyphoplasty

Important Safety Information

Know Your Fracture Risk

If you're over 50 or have osteoporosis and you experience sudden onset back pain lasting longer than a few days, you could have a vertebral compression fracture (VCF). If this happens to you, talk to your doctor about a spine fracture evaluation.

Risk Assessment Checklist

Know the Risks to Your Health

VCFs, also called spinal fractures, can have a negative effect on your overall health. There is a downward spiral of conditions that can follow a VCF.

View the Access Health episode on the Impact of Vertebral Compression Fractures

View the downward spiral

Know Your Treatment Options

Good news! VCFs can be treated with a minimally invasive procedure called balloon kyphoplasty.

View procedure animation

Talking to Your Doctor Guide

Dr. Robert Ernst (Cincinnati, OH)

BKP: What You Need to Know About Spine Fractures

About the Procedure

Kyphon™ Balloon Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive treatment that can repair spinal fractures, also called vertebral compression fractures or VCFs, caused by osteoporosis, cancer, or benign lesions. The procedure uses orthopedic balloons to lift the fractured bone and return it to its correct position and typically takes less than an hour.

Clinical Evidence
A Medtronic-sponsored, randomized controlled trial* found that, compared to those treated with non-surgical management (NSM) including bracing and bed rest, people treated with Kyphon™ Balloon Kyphoplasty:

  • Experienced 3 times greater pain reduction one week after the procedure,
  • Experienced 4 times greater quality of life at one month, and
  • Enjoyed 5 more days of unrestricted activity per month

Important Safety Information

Although the complication rate for Kyphon™ Balloon Kyphoplasty is low, as with most surgical procedures, serious adverse events can occur. And though rare, some may be fatal including heart attack, cardiac arrest (heart stops beating), stroke, and embolism (blood, fat, or cement that migrates to the lungs, heart, or brain). Other risks include infection and leakage of bone cement into surrounding muscle and tissue. Cement leakage into the blood vessels may result in damage to the blood vessels, lungs, heart, and/or brain. Cement leakage into the area surrounding the spinal cord may result in nerve injury that can, in rare instances, cause paralysis. A prescription is required. Please consult your doctor to discuss the risks and benefits of this procedure and whether it's right for you.


*Boonen S, Van Meirhaeghe J, Bastian L, et al. Balloon kyphoplasty for the treatment of acute vertebral compression fractures: 2-year results from a randomized trial. J Bone Miner Res. 2011;26(7):1627-1637.