Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty. These two similar procedures are performed to relieve the pain and, possibly, other problems associated with compression fractures of the vertebrae. Both involve bolstering fractured bone with a cement-like material that is injected into the vertebra or vertebrae through a needle about as big around as a cocktail straw. Although the two procedures are essentially the same, kyphoplasty involves an additional step. Just before injecting the cement material, the doctor places a small balloon-like device into the compressed vertebra and inflates it. The goal of this additional step is to help restore height to the crumbled vertebra, which will reduce deformity.

Learn why vertebroplasty may not be a good choice for compression fractures.

Read about other treatments for osteoporosis.

Other less common surgeries may be performed for other problems.

Read how spine-straightening surgery may be helpful in ankylosing spondylitis.

Learn how to prepare for surgery.