7901 SW 34th Ave

Amarillo, TX 79121

Victor M. Taylor, MD, DABA

Board Certfied Pain Management

Ph: 806-352-7431

Fax: 806-352-2374

Physical Rehabilitation in Chronic Pain | Opioids and Chronic Pain | Approach to Treatment



What it is used to treat?


Kyphoplasty is used in the treatment of spinal fractures due to osteoporosis or cancer.


What the goal/purpose?


The goal of kyphoplasty is to stabilize the fracture or cancerous vertebra by placing a fast hardening resin into the fracture or diseased bone.  The resin stabilizes the bone to help prevent worsening of the condition.  By stabilizing the bone, the procedure also relieves the pain associated with the condition.


What should I do to get ready for the procedure?


Stop taking any medication that thins the blood at least 5 days prior to the procedure. These medicines include Aspirin, and most over the counter pain medicines except Tylenol.   Read the list of medications that must be stopped that was given to you at your office visit. (link)  Make sure it is ok with your prescribing doctor before you stop prescription blood thinners used for treatment of heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, irregular heartbeat or history of stroke.  It is your responsibility to clear this with your doctor.


Continue to take your other medications.  Do not stop blood pressure or diabetes medicines.


Do not eat or drink anything on the morning of your procedure.  You may eat and drink afterward.


The week that the procedure is scheduled, you will be required to have preadmit lab work performed at the hospital, where you are having the procedure done. This lab work helps us to assure that you do not have a current infection or thinner than normal blood, both of which would make proceeding with the procedure potentially dangerous.


How is it done?


Patients come to the hospital and are admitted into the outpatient surgery area.  The anesthetist and nurses will prepare you for the procedure, and once ready, you will be taken to the operating room.  You will be placed under general anesthesia and will not feel or remember anything about the rest of the procedure.  The area over the procedure site is prepped and draped in a sterile manner to protect against infection.  A fluoroscopic x-ray is then used to locate the target site.  The skin is numbed with lidocaine in order to minimize any post procedure pain, and a needle is advanced toward the target under x-ray guidance.


A very small incision, less than ¼ inch long is made in the skin and a large needle is place into the fractured or diseased vertebra.  A balloon device is then placed into the vertebra and expanded to make create a cavity for the stabilizing resin.  This is done on both the left and the right.  Once the cavity is created a fast hardening resin is placed and the needles are removed.   The tiny incisions are closed with dermabond (skin glue).  No stitches are needed.


By the time you get to the recovery area to wake up the resin is hardened and the bone is repaired.


What is injected?


Lidocaine to numb the skin.

Polymethylacrylate Resin to stabilize the fracture of cancerous bone.


Will it hurt?


You will be completely asleep under general anesthesia during the procedure.  Some patients have some post procedure muscle pain.


Important Warning!


About 15-20%  people will develop a new fracture above or below the old fracture site within the next year.  These fractures occur due to osteoporosis or malignancy/cancer in the bones.  The disease that lead to the fracture is almost always present in other bones of the spine, so they are also weak.  The bone that breaks is usually the weakest one.  Once the fracture is repaired and the bone is strong the other bones are still weak and are subject to fracture.


What is the chance of success?


About 85% of patients have greater than 85% pain relief with the procedure- the pain from the fracture is almost completely gone for most people.  About 15 % of patients still have pain- even if repair is successful.


How often can the procedure be repeated?


If you develop a new fracture the procedure can be repeated in most cases.


What can I do to maximize my chance of success?


Be careful with your activities after the procedure.  Even though you may feel great, the other bones of the spine are still weak.  Talk to your primary care doctor about medications that can help treat osteoporosis.


Why do I have a little bluish dots on my back?


That is the dermabond/ skin glue used to close the tiny incisions from the procedure.  Do not pick at the glue and only pat dry the area after bathing.  Allow the glue to fall off on its own in about ten days or so.


Why are there EKG pads still in place?


If you have thin skin or hair in the area, we may leave the EKG pads in place so that you can gently remove them with soap and water at home.


What do we do if the procedure stabilizes the fracture but does not improve my pain?


Patients who do not get good pain relief with the kyphoplasty may require an epidural steroid injection or facet blocks/rhizotomy to help with pain.

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