New Treatment for Vertebral Compression Fractures: The Kiva System

The Medical College of Wisconsin is conducting a clinical trial on a new treatment for vertebral compression fractures (VCFs).   In this study we'll find out if a new way of placing bone cement, into a fracture, is superior to existing procedures like vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty.

Vertebral compression fractures remain the most common type of fracture from osteoporosis, outnumbering hip and wrist fractures combined.   Many people have asymptomatic fractures (painless), or attribute the pain to existing arthritis or other spinal degenerative problems, and let them go undiagnosed.   Some recover without the need for surgical intervention, and some experience continued immobility, pain and physical limitations even after the recommended amount of time to recover.   Once a compression fracture occurs, the odds of having another goes up, and it's when we suffer several of these that we develop a rounding of the spine called kyphosis or c-curve.   This kyphosis or c-curve, can cause a compression of the internal organs, around the spine, from the spine moving forward and down.   None of us want to have a c-curve of the spine, unaffectionately called a dowagers hump, or have trouble with breathing, abdominal compression, or loss of height.

In the past when you had a compression fracture you'd either try conservative treatment, which included bracing, bed rest, physical therapy and pain management, or surgery.   If you didn't recover from this then your other options were, the placement of bone cement through balloon kyphoplasty, vertebroplasty or spinal fusion.   Now there is a new way of placing this cement into a fracture called Kiva, that looks promising.

Several studies done comparing vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty to conservative treatment, proved more effective, or at least that's what we thought; since there were problems seen with the cement leaking and causing major health issues, in some people.   If this new procedure can eliminate this problem, of cement leakage, then it will be a wonderful third surgical option.   We'll have to wait to see what the results are with this study to see how successful this is.

"The study will evaluate whether the Kiva procedure, using a more elastic implant and less cement placed strategically, will be equally safe and effective to kyphoplasty" says Dr. Tutton. It may also demonstrate that the more elastic implant and use of less cement will prove superior to kyphoplasty."[1]

"The Medical College of Wisconsin will conduct clinical trials at Froedtert Hospital to assess the safety and effectiveness of a new vertebral augmentation treatment (Kiva) for painful VCFs that were caused by osteoporosis."[2]

If you are interested in this clinical trial contact: Toranj Marphetia   414-955-4700 or  414-805-2077 Medical College of Wisconsin   for further details and an explanation of the process and qualifications.   Participants must have one or two vertebral fractures and be over the age of 50, and have completed 6 weeks of conservative treatment without improvement.   To read more about Kiva and how it works go to:


Medical School Conduct Trial New Osteoporosis Treatment Endocrine Web, Oct. 30, 2010

National Research Study to Assess New Treatment for Painful Vertebral Fractures, Eureka Alert,, Oct. 30, 2010