Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are minimally invasive procedures for vertebral compression fractures (VCF), which are fractures in vertebra, the small bones that make up the spinal column.

When a vertebra fractures, the usual rectangular shape of the bone becomes compressed and distorted, causing pain. These compression fractures, which may involve the collapse of one or more vertebrae in the spine, are a common symptom and result of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease that results in a loss of normal bone density, mass and strength, leading to a condition in which bones are increasingly porous or full or small holes and vulnerable to breaking. Vertebrae can also become weakened by cancer.

In vertebroplasty, physicians use image guidance to inject a special cement mixture through a hollow needle into the fractured bone. In kyphohplasty, a balloon is first inserted through the needle into the fractured bone to restore the height and shape of the vertebra. Once the balloon is removed, the cement mixture is injected.