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Percutaneous Vertebroplasty

What is vertebroplasty?


Vertebroplasty is a minimally-invasive technique used to stabilize painful compression fractures of a vertebra. The procedure provides relief for painful thoracic and lumbar spine fractures. Although most vertebral fractures heal on their own and the pain subsides after a few weeks, some fractures fail to heal well and remain painful for a long period of time. Vertebroplasty helps accelerate the healing.

Who might benefit from the procedure?
Vertebroplasty may benefit the following:
  • People who have a vertebral fracture that is still painful after several weeks
  • Patients with severe pain requiring hospitalization
  • Patients who do not tolerate narcotic pain relievers
  • People at risk for pneumonia, deep venous thrombosis and other illnesses due to limitations in activity
  • Patients with vertebral fractures resulting from benign and malignant tumors
The Procedure
While the patient is awake but sedated and given pain relief medicines, a needle or needles are placed into the center of the vertebra. Plastic cement is then injected through the needle into the center of the bone and allowed to harden for an hour. The patient can then go home. Many patients get pain relief immediately, while most others get better over the next week or two as the vertebra is able to heal around the hardened plastic cement.