Medtop stories
Kyphon Balloon
a promising alternative to opioid pain relievers
Kyphoplasty Platform
a promising alternative to opioid pain relievers
Chronic back pain is a major cause of disability and one of the most common reasons for which patients are often treated with opioid pain relievers. Prescribed opioids are indispensable in some cases. However, they just mask the pain while the cause is left untreated.
An alarming increase in prescription opioid use led to widespread overdose and addiction. According to the Lancet, more than 600,000 people in the USA and Canada have died from opioid overdose in the period from 1999 to 2022 (Humphreys et al., 2022). While scientists seek ways to stop its spread internationally, painkiller abuse is continuing to be a worrying trend.

Medtronic, a US-based company known for its state-of-the-art medical devices, devoted several years to creating an alternative to opioid pain relievers in treating acute back pain. The company has developed the Kyphontm Balloon Kyphoplasty Platform that treats severe back pain caused by vertebral compression fractures (VCFs). VCFs are often caused by cancer, osteoporosis, or non-malignant tumors and affect 1.4 million patients worldwide each year (Boonen et al., 2011).
Medtronic, a US-based company known for its state-of-the-art medical devices, devoted several years to creating an alternative to opioid pain relievers in treating acute back pain.
During the Kyphontm balloon kyphoplasty (KBP), a surgeon makes a small incision in a patient’s back and inserts a thin tube. An orthopedic balloon is then introduced into the tube and into the vertebrae. As the balloon inflates, it expands the inner spongy bone to form a cavity inside the vertebrae.
The balloon is then deflated and extracted and the surgeon fills the resulting cavity with a cement-like matter. The substance hardens quickly, stabilizing the fracture. After the procedure, patients report the elimination or reduction of pain within two days (Saliou et al., 2010).
The Kyphontm Balloon Kyphoplasty Platform
consists of:
Bone access tools (cannula, style, and inflation syringe)
01
Inflatable orthopedic balloons that come in a variety of sizes to fit varying patient anatomy
02
Cement and cement-delivery system
03
Although kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure with a proven low rate of complication (Swamy Kurra et al., 2018), Medtronic is continuously innovating the platform to improve its precision and minimize the risk of serious complications

Having the KBP platform on hand at a hospital is crucial to providing complete care, improving patients’ quality of life, and eliminating their dependency on powerful opioids
1. Humphreys K., Shover C., Andrews C., Bohnert A., Brandeau M., Caulkins J., Chen J., Cuéllar M-F, Hurd Y., Juurlink D., Koh H., Krebs E., Lembke A., Mackey S, Ouellette L.L., Suffoletto B., Timko C. ‘Managing the opioid crisis in North America and beyond’. The Lancet, https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(22)00200-8/fulltext#figures
2. Boonen S., Van Meirhaeghe J., Bastian L., Cummings S.R., Ranstam J., Tillman J.B., Eastell R., Talmadge K., Wardlaw D.J. ‘Balloon kyphoplasty for the treatment of acute vertebral compression fractures: 2-year results from a randomized trial’. The Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. 2011;26(7):1627–37. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21337428/
3. Saliou G., Rutgers D.R., Kocheida E.M., Langman G, Meurin A., Deramond H., Lehmann P. ‘Balloon-Related Complications and Technical Failures in Kyphoplasty for Vertebral Fractures’. American Journal of Neuroradiology. 2010. http://www.ajnr.org/content/31/1/175
4. Swamy Kurra, Metkar U., Lieberman I., Lavelle W F. ‘The Effect of Kyphoplasty on Mortality in Symptomatic Vertebral Compression Fractures: A Review’. International Journal of Spine Surgery. 2018, 12(5): 543–548.

Reference list