Kyphoplasty is a technique for vertebral compression fractures that involves the introduction of a cannula into the vertebral body followed by the insertion of an inflatable balloon. The balloon is inflated within the vertebral body. When the balloon is inflated, it creates a space within the center of the vertebral body for the injection of polymethylmethacrylate (bone cement).

In addition, the inflation of the balloon itself in the kyphoplasty procedure can also lead to some increase in the vertebral body height and therefore correction of the abnormal configuration of the vertebral body that existed as a result of the fracture.

After the balloon is removed, there is an empty space within the vertebral body that allows for the low-pressure injection of the polymethylmethacrylate into the cavity created by the balloon. Injection under low pressure in kyphoplasty has the advantage of decreasing the rate of leakage of polymethylmethacrylate either into the spinal canal or into the draining veins of the vertebral bodies. Recent reports on kyphoplasty reveal a high success rate using this technique.

The University of Pittsburgh Spine Services Division is the most experienced medical center in the region with this procedure.