Vertebroplasty is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that stabilizes compression fractures in the spine by injecting bone cement into the cracked or broken bones in your back. This cement reinforces and stabilizes your spine.
Your doctor will determine if you’re eligible for vertebroplasty, as it’s only suggested if previous treatment options, such as physical therapy, rest, and pain relievers, have not decreased your pain.
Vertebroplasty provides relief from back pain and allows you to return to normal activities without physical therapy or rehabilitation. After the procedure, patients experience an increase in functional abilities and regain back mobility.
Prior to the procedure, your doctor may ask you to stop taking aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), blood thinners, or immunosuppressant medications to reduce your risk of infection or other complications. You should not eat or drink several hours before the procedure.
During the procedure, the doctor will ask you to lay face down on an X-ray table, and then they will numb your skin with a local anesthetic. You’ll be given either moderate or general anesthesia. The medical professional performing the procedure will use the continuous X-ray to guide the needle as they place it into the vertebral body and inject the cement mixture into the vertebra.
Once your procedure is complete, you’ll wait in an observation room until the cement hardens. You’ll need someone to drive you home, and your doctor will discuss when you can return to normal activities and recreation, such as sports or heavy lifting.
You may experience pain from the procedure for about two to three days. Your back pain may be relieved immediately, while others find pain relief within two days. If your pain worsens or does not improve after about a week, contact your doctor.
Risks of this procedure are rare but may include:
Infection at the injection site or allergic reaction to anesthesia
Fractures in your ribs or other nearby bones
Nerve root irritation
Cement flowing outside the bone prior to hardening
Your doctor has evaluated these risks to determine this procedure is the best option for you. If you have any questions or concerns, talk to your doctor.