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A vertebroplasty fills in fractured vertebrae with bone cement. While under light anesthesia, the patient will have a hollow needle inserted through the back and into the fractured vertebrae using an x-ray to ensure placement. The patient will experience quick recovery time and a short stay in the hospital.

What is it?   

A vertebroplasty is a minimally invasive procedure.  It treats compression fractures in the spine and patients are typically allowed to return home after the procedure is done. Often caused by osteoporosis, malignant tumors, or aging, patients encounter impaired bone healing. Bone cement is injected during this procedure into the fractured portions of the spine. The cement hardens, stabilizing the fractures and stabilizing the spine. This stability leads to a reduction in pain and ability to move and function normally.

What should I do to prepare?  

Pre-operative testing, such as having an MRI or CT Scan, is necessary. Due to the anesthetic, you will receive, you cannot eat or drink for several hours leading up to the procedure.

What happens during the process?  

The patient will lie in a prone (face down) position on the procedure table, and IV sedation will be administered with a needle. A local numbing anesthetic will then be injected into the back. Using imaging guidance, a hollow needle is inserted through the skin and down toward the spine. The bone cement is dispensed to the fractured area, and the needle is retracted. The cement typically takes around 20 minutes to harden, and the entire procedure is usually performed within an hour.

What are the risks and potential complications?  

As with all medical procedures, a vertebroplasty carries some risks. These include infection, cement leakage, bleeding, increased pain, neural damage, and allergies to sedatives. Additional compression fractures develop in 10% of patients.


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