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.

The doctor places a needle 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 also involves the use 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 doctor 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 doctor may also recommend this procedure if you have a painful compression fractures of the spine due to

Risks

Vertebroplasty is generally safe. Complications may include:

Before the Procedure

Always tell your doctor or nurse:

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 doctor 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 usually need fewer pain medicines, and can move better than before.

References

Esses SI, McGuire R, Jenkins J, et al. The treatment of symptomatic osteoporotic spinal compression fractures. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2011 Mar;19(3):176-82. 

Anselmetti GC, Muto M, Guglielmi G, et al. Percutaneous vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty. Radiol Clin North Am. 2010 May;48(3):641-9.