Traditionally, spinal compression fractures have been treated with a combination of bed rest and painkillers. Now, for spinal compression fracture patients with chronic pain that has not responded to this traditional treatment, a minimally-invasive treatment called vertebroplasty is another option.

Vertebroplasty is an image-guided procedure in which a needle is inserted through the patient's back, and acrylic bone cement, used in other bone and joint procedures, is slowly injected into the bone where it hardens and stabilizes the affected vertebrae.

This minimally-invasive procedure is typically done as an outpatient procedure under local anesthesia. The interventional radiologists at Scott & White perform this procedure in the Interventional Radiology department.

Interventional radiologists are physicians who specialize in diagnosing and treating patients using special imaging equipment to guide the procedures.

According to the Society of Interventional Radiology, studies show that about 90 percent of people treated with vertebroplasty have complete or significant reduction of their pain. Within 24 hours of the procedure, most patients feel significant reduction of their pain.

Reprinted with permission of the Society of Interventional Radiology (c) 2004, 2008; All rights reserved.

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