Before the procedure:

  • Your doctor will likely order an X-ray, take a complete medical history and do a physical exam to determine the precise location and nature of your vertebra-related pain. Your doctor might also use Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or a Computed Tomography Scan (CT or CAT scan).
  • Tell your doctor about all prescription and over-the-counter medications and any herbal supplements you are taking.
  • Tell your doctor if you have a history of bleeding disorders or if you are taking any anticoagulant (blood-thinning) medications, aspirin or other medications that affect blood clotting.

During the procedure, your doctor:

  • Gives you sedation medication to help you relax and keep calm during the procedure, or general anesthesia for severe pain.
  • Uses a continuous X-ray to guide the needle into the fractured vertebra, with your body protected from the radiation.
  • Slowly injects cement into the vertebra. Depending on how the cement enters the vertebra, your doctor might apply a second injection to completely fill it.
  • With Kyphoplasty, a balloon is inflated to create a cavity in the vertebrae prior to placing the cement.

After the procedure:

  • You will probably lie on your back for 1 hour while the cement hardens.
  • You will likely remain in an observation room for an additional 1 to 2 hours.
  • You may experience pain relief almost immediately after the procedure, but it might take up to 72 hours. Your doctor can provide you with over-the-counter pain relievers for the temporary discomfort.
  • Your doctor will assess your pain and check for any possible complications.
  • You may need to continue wearing a back brace, but it’s usually unnecessary.
  • You will come back for a follow-up appointment in a few weeks.