May 25, 2017

Patients and providers see the benefits of balloon kyphoplasty

Charlene Wood gets back to everyday activities.

May 2017 - To look around Charlene Wood’s property is to see 62 years of tender loving care.

At 87, she still tends to her tulips and hyacinth every day. The backyard garden is filled with rhubarb and vegetables. The lawn is mowed and manicured. 

Charlene credits her outdoor work and a good diet with keeping her healthy. In fact, she had never been to the hospital, until the day when a little too much leaf-raking left her with terrible back pain.

“It was very severe,” Charlene said. “I couldn’t move without it hurting. I never felt anything like it.”

She originally thought it was a bad muscle pull, but doctors found something much worse – a vertebral compression fracture (VCF) in her spine. 

Such injuries are common in older people, especially women, whose bones often weaken with age due to osteoporosis, said Dr. Paul Dorio, an interventional radiologist who treated Charlene. Learn more about osteoporosis.

'Being able to help people like her get back to normal living is why we do this.'

Dr. Paul Dorio, interventional radiologist

A good candidate for surgery

Dr. Dorio determined that Charlene was a good candidate for a minimally invasive surgery called balloon kyphoplasty to treat her VCF.

He inserted two small needles into the fracture and injected a special cement to stabilize the injury. The procedure to treat her VCF took a matter of minutes. Afterward, Charlene's back pain eased. [1] 

“She had 8 out 10 pain to begin with and almost zero out of 10 pain when we were done,“ said Dr. Dorio. “She’s one of the textbook cases and being able to help people like her get back to normal living is why we do this,” he said.

Additional Findings

Studies are finding additional BKP benefits.

Several recent large studies [2] [3], [4], [5], [6] followed for at least 12 months after vertebral compression fracture (VCF) have concluded that mortality rates following VCFs are significantly higher for patients treated conservatively versus VP or BKP, while other studies have concluded no difference.  For more information, visit

“The data has been, in my opinion, overwhelming,” said interventional radiologist Dr. Kevin Aukerman. “The data is showing that mortality and morbidity rates are factors to consider when deciding whether to do a balloon kyphoplasty procedure.”

'The sooner you get patients out of the hospital... that's a huge economic savings for everybody.'

Dr. Kevin Aukerman, interventional radiologist

Savings to the healthcare system

A recent study also show that BKP cuts the length of hospital stays by nearly half, significantly reduces hospital readmission rates, and more than doubles a person’s likelihood of routine discharge to home, rather than traditional care.[3] 

Together, those factors can add up to thousands of dollars in savings per patient to the healthcare system. [3][7]

“The sooner you get patients out of the hospital, if they’re in-patients, that’s a huge economic savings for everybody, for the whole system,” said Dr. Aukerman.

For Charlene, that means getting back to her normal routine. Within two weeks of undergoing BKP, she said she was pain free and back working in her yard.

“I want other people who have this same pain to realize how easy it can be to get it fixed,” she said. “Amazing, really. Just amazing.”


Kyphon™ Balloon Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure for the treatment of pathological fractures of the vertebral body due to osteoporosis, cancer, or benign lesions.

Keep in mind that results of this procedure may vary, and all treatment and outcome results are specific to the individual patient. There are risks to the procedure, including serious complications, including infection and leakage of bone cement into the muscle and tissue. Cement leakage into the blood vessels may result in damage to the blood vessels, lungs, heart, and/or brain.  Cement leakage into the area surrounding the spinal cord may result in nerve injury that can, in rare instances, cause paralysis.

A prescription is required. Please talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits to the procedure.

For more information, visit

For more information about VCF outcomes visit:


1. Boonen S, Van Meirhaeghe J, Bastian L, et al. Balloon kyphoplasty for the treatment of acute vertebral compression fractures: 2-year results from a randomized trial. J Bone Miner Res. 2011. Jul;26(7):1627-1637

2. Edidin AA, Ong KL, Lau E, Kurtz SM. Mortality risk for operated and nonoperated vertebral fracture patients in the medicare population. J Bone Miner Res. 2011 Jul;26(7):1617-26. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.353. PubMed PMID: 21308780.

3. Chen AT, Cohen DB, Skolasky RL. Impact of nonoperative treatment, vertebroplasty, and kyphoplasty on survival and morbidity after vertebral compression fracture in the medicare population. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2013 Oct 2;95(19):1729-36. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.K.01649. PubMed PMID: 24088964.

4. Lange A, Kasperk C, Alvares L, Sauermann S, Braun S. Survival and cost comparison of kyphoplasty and percutaneous vertebroplasty using German claims data. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2014 Feb 15;39(4): 318-26. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0000000000000135. PubMed PMID: 24299715.

5. Edidin AA, Ong KL, Lau E, Kurtz SM. Morbidity and Mortality after Vertebral Fractures: Comparison of Vertebral Augmentation and Non-Operative Management in the Medicare Population. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2015 Aug 1;40(15):1228-41. doi: 10.1097. PubMed PMID: 26020845.

6. McCullough BJ, Comstock BA, Deyo RA, Kreuter W, Jarvik JG. Major medical outcomes with spinal augmentation vs conservative therapy. JAMA Intern Med. 2013 Sep 9;173(16):1514-21. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.8725. PubMed PMID: 23836009; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4023124.

7. Medtronic Data on File