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What is Vertebroplasty?
Vertebroplasty is a minimally invasive procedure in which medical-grade bone cement is injected through a needle into the vertebral body. The cement hardens quickly, stabilizing the fracture and strengthening the weakened bone. Most patients experience pain relief following the cement injection.
What to Expect
During the procedure, the patient lays face down on a table and is given medications to provide mild sedation. The skin and underlying tissues are numbed and, under high quality x-ray imaging, a needle is passed carefully into the fractured vertebral body. Depending on the fracture, one or two needles may be used. When the needle is in the appropriate position, the cement is mixed and slowly injected during constant x-ray monitoring. When the open spaces within the vertebral body are filled, the needle is removed. For one fracture, the procedure usually takes less than one hour. Some patients have more than one vertebral compression fracture. In these cases, multiple fractures may be treated during the same session.
After the procedure, the patient is allowed to carefully test their mobility. Sometimes an overnight stay in the hospital is necessary, but many patients go home the same day. Most patients experience significant pain relief within the first 1-2 days following vertebroplasty. Medications may be prescribed following the procedure and should be used only as directed. These include:
Pain medications – usually reduced over several days after the procedure
Osteoporosis therapy medications – to prevent further bone loss and reduce the risk of future fractures
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IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
As with any medical treatment, individual results may vary. There are potential risks and recovery takes time. People with conditions limiting rehabilitation should not have this surgery. Only a spine surgeon can tell if spine treatment is right for you.