Vertebroplasty

Vertebroplasty is a procedure used to treat collapsed bones (compression fractures) of the spine. Spine (vertebral) fractures can be painful and limit movement. Vertebroplasty stabilizes the fracture by injecting bone cement into the collapsed bone. This restores the vertebra and helps prevent further collapse.  

LET YOUR CAREGIVER KNOW ABOUT:

  • Any allergies you have to medicines, tape, or other products.

  • All prescription medicines you are taking, as well as:

  • Herbs.

  • Over-the-counter medicines and creams.

  • Eyedrops.

  • Steroid medicine.

  • Blood thinners (anticoagulants), aspirin, or other drugs that affect blood clotting.

  • Problems with anesthesia, including local anesthetics.

  • Any history of bleeding problems or blood clots.

  • Breathing problems and smoking history.

  • Previous surgery.

  • Any recent colds or infections.  

RISKS AND COMPLICATIONS

All procedures have risks. General complications of any procedure can include bleeding, infections, blood clots, and reactions to anesthesia. Problems with vertebroplasty do not occur often, but they can include:

  • Bone cement leakage.

  • Nerve damage.

  • Infection.

  • Need for another surgery.  

  • Paralysis. This is very rare. Some people are at higher risk than others for this complication to occur. Your particular risks should be discussed with your caregiver.

BEFORE THE PROCEDURE

  • Discuss your risk for more compression fractures in the future with your caregiver.

  • Ask your caregiver about the difference between vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty and which is more appropriate for you.

  • You may need to take medicine to help make your bones stronger. This will help prepare you for the procedure.

  • Ask your caregiver about changing or stopping any medicines you are on before the procedure.

  • If you take blood thinners, ask your caregiver when you should stop taking them.

  • Do not eat or drink for 8 hours before your procedure or as told by your caregiver.

  • You might be asked to shower or wash at home with a soap that kills skin bacteria.

  • Arrive at least 1 hour before the procedure or as directed.

  • Vertebroplasty is often an outpatient procedure. This means you will be able to go home the same day. Make arrangements in advance for someone to drive you home and stay with you for 24 hours.

PROCEDURE

  • You will lie face down for the procedure.

  • You will be given an intravenous (IV) line. Medicine to help you relax will be given through the IV.

  • Medicine that numbs the area (local anesthetic) will be injected into the skin where the fractured vertebra is. A small cut (incision) is then made where the fractured vertebra is.

  • A hollow needle is inserted through the incision. An X-ray machine (fluoroscope) is used to guide the needle to the fractured vertebrae.

  • Bone cement is put through the hollow needle into the fractured vertebra. It hardens in about 20 minutes.

  • A bandage (dressing) is put over the incision site.

AFTER THE PROCEDURE

  • You will stay in a recovery area until you are awake enough to eat and drink.

  • Most people go home the same day.