Kyphoplasty is an x-ray guided procedure for treatment of painful compression fractures of the spine. These fractures are common in patients with weak or brittle bones and can occur with very little trauma. This is common for elderly patients or those with osteoporosis, tumors or other related conditions. The compression fractures cause severe pain with almost any movement, but especially when moving from a lying to a sitting or standing position.

Kyphoplasty is not a treatment for herniated discs, bulging discs or spinal stenosis.

How to prepare
Because kyphoplasty is a specialized procedure, some special preparation is needed before your exam. Please use the following guidelines before your appointment:

  • Arrange for someone to drive you home after the procedure. Avoid driving for 24 hours after the exam.
  • Discontinue any of the following medications 5 days before your procedure: Plavix, Pletal, Ticlid, Trental, Coumadin, Warfarin, Brilinta, Xarelto or Pradaxa. Discontinue Effient for 7 days before your procedure. Patients who have had a drug eluting cardiac stent within the past year should not stop Plavix or Effient.
  • Discontinue any of the following medicines 24 hours before your procedure: Lovenox, Fragmin, Normiflo, Orgaran, Innohep, Arixtra, Eliquis or Iprivask.
  • Take all other medications normally prior to your exam. Please take blood pressure medication the morning of your procedure. Please bring all your medications with you to your appointment. Do not hold heart or blood pressure medications.
  • If you are on insulin, take half of your dose the morning of the procedure. Do not take any oral diabetic medication the morning of the exam.
  • Do not eat solid foods 6 hours prior to your procedure. You may drink clear liquids until 2 hours before the procedure (no milk or creamer, no juice with pulp).
  • You must not have infections of any kind of the day of the procedure.
  • If you have had imaging done prior to your angiogram, please bring a copy with you.
  • On the morning of your procedure, please come to Premier Radiology Briarville 30 minutes prior to your appointment. We open at 7:30am.
  • Inform the staff of any allergies you have.
  • Please fill out and bring the documents and questionnaire about your current health status.
  • Bring a copy of the order for the procedure from your referring physician.
  • Bring a copy of your personal identification and health insurance information.

Download the kyphoplasty consultation and preparation guide.

What to expect during kyphoplasty
During the preliminary examination of your back, the interventional radiologist will make marks and use x-ray to confirm you have a treatable fracture. An MRI or nuclear medicine bone scan may be necessary to confirm the fracture.

Before the exam, you will be given mild sedation through an IV inserted in your arm. Your skin will be cleansed with an antiseptic soap and will be numbed with local anesthesia. Then, you will be asked to lay on your stomach. During the procedure, an interventional radiologist makes small incisions near the compression fracture. A hollow needle, or cannula, is placed into the broken vertebrae using x-ray guidance. Then, a balloon is inserted to elevate the broken bone to make room for bone cement. The bone cement “glues” the fracture back together. Sometimes, an interventional radiologist may perform sacroplasty, which is the same procedure without the balloons to fix a fracture of the sacrum. After the fracture has been cemented, the needles are removed, and you will be moved to recovery. The whole process usually takes about one and a half hours.

During recovery, you will be asked to lie flat for one hour. This is to ensure the glue sets properly. About 80% of patients are pain free from their fracture at the time of discharge. You may experience mild or moderate soreness or muscles spasms, but these will go away in a few days. You may use ice or need a prescription, usually a muscle relaxer, following your procedure. After your procedure, please following these guidelines:

  • Drink plenty of clear (nonalcoholic) liquids, at least 8 oz. every hour
  • Resume your usual diet and any medications you routinely take (unless otherwise instructed by your doctor)
  • If you take a blood thinner, you may resume taking it 12 hours after your exam
  • Rest quietly for the remainder of the day after your exam
  • No driving, operating heavy machinery or making legal decisions for 24 hours following the exam
  • For 2-5 days after the procedure, avoid strenuous activities including vigorous exercise, lifting objects heavier than 10 pounds or excessive bending at the waist
  • An ice pack to the injection site may be helpful for 20 minutes every hour for 4 hours; then gentle heat afterwards
  • Do not take a tub bath until the procedure site looks closed; this may be several days. You may shower

Our interventional radiologists offer the full spectrum of care including pre-procedure consultation, post-procedure care and when necessary, hospital admission. All patients can schedule an office visit to consult with a radiologist to discuss treatment options prior to performing any procedure. To schedule an appointment please call our Briarville office at 615.986.6411.


Dr. Dan Wunder talks about kyphoplasty. Learn more about symptoms, diagnosis and treatment options.

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