Complications following kyphoplasty in unstable osteoporotic vertebral body fractures. A guide to correct fracture analysis

Published online: Oct 27 2013

Hans-Heinrich TROUILLIER, Christof BIRKENMAIER, Tamara SEIDL, Volkmar JANSSON

From the Franziskus Hospital, Bielefeld, Germany


The possibilities offered by kyphoplasty in the treatment of osteoporotic vertebral fractures have been widely described. Kyphoplasty is technically not very demanding, it can be easily learned and it is minimally invasive when compared to open surgical fracture treatment. Like many other simple surgical methods, it has spread rapidly and as a consequence of the above factors combined with its good reimbursement in many countries, it has experienced a widening in the indications for which it is being employed. The intial purpose of kyphoplasty was pain relief based on vertebral body stabilisation combined with restoration of vertebral body height. An increasingly uncritical use of the method can be observed and as a consequence, an increase in serious complications. During recent years, spinal surgery departments have received an increasing number of patients with serious complications following kyphoplasty, requiring major reconstructive spinal surgery. On the basis of 12 cases treated over the past 36 months, we aim to provide guidelines for the indications of the kyphoplasty procedure.