Kyphoplasty is considered a minimally invasive surgery because it is performed through a small skin puncture rather than a larger (open) incision. A typical kyphoplasty procedure, described below, takes 1 to 2 hours per vertebral level to complete.
Local anesthesia and light sedation are applied, which typically allow the patient to remain awake throughout the procedure without feeling pain. A small incision is made in the back through which a narrow tube is placed. Using fluoroscopy (x-ray guidance), the tube is carefully pushed along a path through the pedicle of the involved vertebra and into the fractured area.
A special balloon (called a bone tamp) is then inserted through the tube and into the vertebra and gently inflated. As the balloon inflates, it compacts the soft inner bone to create a cavity inside the vertebra and return the vertebral body to a natural height. The balloon is removed. Then, using a specially designed instrument, the cavity is gradually filled with a cement-like material called polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA). After being injected, the pasty PMMA material quickly hardens, stabilizing the bone.
Immediately after kyphoplasty surgery, the patient is observed closely in a recovery room for an hour or two. If no complications develop during this time, the patient is typically allowed to go home. Driving is not advised so soon after surgery, so a ride home may need to be arranged beforehand.