Vertebroplasty is a minimally invasive treatment for painful compression fractures of the spine. It is a procedure performed using x-ray guidance to accurately place specifically formulated acrylic bone cement into a partially compressed vertebral body. The bone cement is injected in fluid form through a needle placed in the skin and into the vertebral body. Before it hardens, the cement fills the spaces with the damaged bone, stabilizing the spinal fractures.
Who can benefit from vertebroplasty?
Vertebroplasty is most effective for people, who have suffered recent compression fractures, but in some cases older fractures can be treated.
Vertebroplasty is for patients with vertebral compression fractures caused by:
- Primary Osteoporosis
- Secondary Osteoporosis
- Benign and malignant tumors
What to expect before the procedure
A physical exam as well as diagnostic tests such as x-rays, MRI and bone scans will be reviewed to pinpoint the location of the fractured vertebrae and to determine if the procedure is appropriate.
What to expect during the procedure
Vertebroplasty requires that the patient lie on their stomach throughout the entire procedure. Typically the procedure is performed under local anesthetic and sedation. The area to be treated will be numbed by local anesthesia. A small nick is then made in the skin and a needle is inserted. Biocompatible bone cement will be injected through the needle and into the vertebral body. The needle is removed and the cement is allowed to harden. The small opening is covered with a bandage. This procedure can take from one to two hours depending on the number of vertebrae treated.
What to expect after the procedure
The patient is required to remain for observation for one to two hours after the procedure. Typically, patients are then released to go home and should be able to resume normal activities within 24-48 hours. Some patients experience immediate pain relief after Vertebroplasty. Most report that their pain is gone or diminished within 48 hours. Patients might experience some discomfort or brusing where the needle was inserted.
Benefits of vertebroplasty
- Minimally invasive; performed using x-ray
- Reduction or elimination of general anesthesia
- Elimination of complications that may result from open surgery
- Outpatient procedure
- Typically no overnight hospitalization required
- Lasts from 1-2 hours
- Rapid recovery time
- Patients typically go home the same day of treatment
- Immediate pain relief
- Most patients report pain relief or elimination within 48 hours
- Some patients report immediate pain relief
Vertebroplasty has shown to:
- Significantly reduce or eliminate pain in up to 90% of patients
- Prevent old compression fractures from further collapse
Have a short recovery time