Vertebroplasty

Definition

Vertebroplasty is often an outpatient procedure used to treat painful compression fractures in the spine. In a compression fracture, all or part of a spine bone collapses.

Description

Vertebroplasty is done in a hospital or outpatient clinic.

You lie face down on a table. The health care provider cleans the area of your back and applies medicine to numb the area.

A needle is placed through the skin and into the spine bone. Real-time x-ray images are used to guide the doctor to the correct area in your lower back.

Cement is then injected into the broken spine bone to make sure it does not collapse again.

This procedure is similar to kyphoplasty. However, kyphoplasty involves the use of a balloon that is inflated at the end of the needle to add space between the vertebrae.

Why the Procedure Is Performed

A common cause of compression fractures of the spine is thinning of your bones, or osteoporosis. Your health care provider may recommend this procedure if you have severe and disabling pain for 2 months or more that does not get better with bed rest, pain medicines, and physical therapy.

Your provider may also recommend this procedure if you have a painful compression fracture of the spine due to

Risks

Vertebroplasty is generally safe. Complications may include:

Before the Procedure

Always tell your health care provider:

During the days before the surgery:

On the day of the surgery:

After the Procedure

You will probably go home on the same day of surgery. You should not drive, unless your provider says it is OK.

After the procedure:

Outlook (Prognosis)

Patients who have this procedure often have less pain and a better quality of life after the surgery.

They most often need fewer pain medicines, and can move better than before.

References

Anselmetti GC, Muto M, Guglielmi G, et al. Percutaneous vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty. Radiol Clin North Am. 2010;48(3):641-9. PMID: 20609898 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20609898.

Esses SI, McGuire R, Jenkins J, et al. The treatment of symptomatic osteoporotic spinal compression fractures. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2011;19(3):176-82. PMID: 21368099 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21368099.

Williams KD. Fractures, dislocations, and fracture-dislocations of the spine. In: Canale ST, Beaty JH, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2013:chap 38.