Vertebroplasty

Description

Vertebroplasty is used to treat painful vertebral compression fractures in the spinal column, which commonly result from osteoporosis. Vertebroplasty is a procedure that involves the injection of a special cement into a fractured vertebra to relieve spinal pain and restore mobility. The procedure lasts about one hour and is considered minimally invasive because it is performed through a small puncture in the skin instead of an open incision. Vertebroplasty is performed as follows:

  • The patient lies face down on a padded table in an X-ray suite or operating room
  • The area of the back where the needle will enter is sterilized
  • Local anesthesia and light sedation are administered
  • Using contrast-enhance fluoroscopy, a bone biopsy needle is guided into the injured vertebra through a small puncture in the skin
  • A specially formulated bone cement (PMMA) is injected directly into the fractured vertebra
  • The bone cement fills the cracks within the bone to create a type of internal cast that stabilizes the vertebral bone
  • The needle is removed and the cement hardens in about 10 minutes
  • The small skin puncture is bandaged
  • The patient is monitored for about one hour to ensure there are no adverse reactions

Indications

Indications for vertebroplasty include the following:

  • Painful, non-healing osteoporotic or neoplastic vertebral compression fractures
  • Traditional methods of treating fractured vertebrae or back pain fail
  • Severe and prolonged pain and immobility
  • Serious complications such as deep vein thrombosis, acceleration of osteoporosis, respiratory problems, loss of height, and emotional issues
  • Vertebral compression due to a malignant tumor