Learn About Vertebroplasty

Vertebroplasty is an outpatient procedure for stabilizing compression fractures in the spine. Bone cement is injected into back bones (vertebrae) that have cracked or broken, often because of osteoporosis.

The goals of the vertebroplasty surgical procedure are to stabilize the spinal fracture and to stop the pain caused by the fracture. Vertebroplasty is considered a minimally invasive surgical procedure because the procedure is done through a small puncture in the patient's skin (as opposed to an open incision). A typical vertebroplasty procedure, usually takes about 1 hour to complete.

For the first 24 hours after vertebroplasty, bedrest is usually recommended. Activities may be increased gradually and most regular medications can be resumed. There may be some soreness for a few days at the puncture site which may be relieved with an ice pack.

Many patients undergoing percutaneous vertebroplasty experience 90 percent or better reduction in pain within 24-48 hours and increased ability to perform daily activities shortly thereafter. Recent research has demonstrated that percutaneous vertebroplasty can relieve pain from vertebral compression fractures for up to nearly three years following the procedure.

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