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Vertebroplasty

Osteoporosis - vertebroplasty

Vertebroplasty is often an outpatient procedure used to treat painful compression fractures in the spine. In a compression fracture, all or part of a spine bone collapses.

Presentation

Vertebroplasty - series

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Description

Vertebroplasty is done in a hospital or outpatient clinic.

You lie face down on a table. The health care provider cleans the area of your back and applies medicine to numb the area.

A needle is placed through the skin and into the spine bone. Real-time x-ray images are used to guide the doctor to the correct area in your lower back.

Cement is then injected into the broken spine bone to make sure it does not collapse again.

This procedure is similar to kyphoplasty. However, kyphoplasty involves the use of a balloon that is inflated at the end of the needle to create space between the vertebrae.

Why the Procedure Is Performed

A common cause of compression fractures of the spine is thinning of your bones, or osteoporosis. Your provider may recommend this procedure if you have severe and disabling pain for 2 months or more that does not get better with bed rest, pain medicines, and physical therapy.

Your provider may also recommend this procedure if you have a painful compression fracture of the spine due to:

Risks

Vertebroplasty is generally safe. Complications may include:

Before the Procedure

Always tell your provider:

During the days before the surgery:

On the day of the surgery:

After the Procedure

You will probably go home on the same day of surgery. You should not drive, unless your provider says it is OK.

After the procedure:

Outlook (Prognosis)

People who have this procedure often have less pain and a better quality of life after the surgery.

They most often need fewer pain medicines, and can move better than before.

References

Savage JW, Anderson PA. Osteoporotic spinal fractures. In: Browner BD, Jupiter JB, Krettek C, Anderson PA, eds. Skeletal Trauma: Basic Science, Management, and Reconstruction. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 35.

Weber TJ. Osteoporosis. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 230.

Williams KD. Fractures, dislocations, and fracture-dislocations of the spine. In: Azar FM, Beaty JH, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 14th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 41.

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Review Date: 7/28/2021  

Reviewed By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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06/01/2025

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