Vertebroplasty

Download the Vertebroplasty patient information sheet

What is vertebroplasty?

Vertebroplasty is an image guided, minimally invasive, non-surgical therapy used to treat painful compression fractures in the spine by injecting a cement-like substance into the bone. This procedure is performed at the hospital.

How should I prepare for my procedure?

Complete preparation instructions will be given to you by a hospital staff member. In general, the following apply:

  • Do not eat or drink anything for 2-4 hours prior to the procedure.
  • Bring someone to drive you home.
  • If you are taking blood thinners (Coumadin, Plavix or Ticlid), you will have to stop the medication prior to the procedure. Contact your healthcare provider before stopping any medication to determine if it is safe for you.
Diagnosis

Either a CT or MRI will be performed to confirm the presence of a compression fracture. A board-certified neuroradiologist will analyze the images and determine the age and location of the fracture.

You will have an hour-long consultation at Suburban Imaging with a healthcare provider specially trained in vertebroplasty. A physical evaluation will be performed using fluoroscopy, a type of low-dose x-ray.

What happens during my procedure?

You will be sedated and receive a local anesthetic to numb the skin and muscles near the spinal fracture. Guided by a fluoroscope, a radiologist will place a hollow needle into the fractured vertebra through a small incision. Once the needle is in the proper location, orthopedic cement is injected. This cement hardens quickly over the next 10-20 minutes.

What happens after my procedure?

A summary of the procedure will be sent to your healthcare provider who will then contact you to discuss the results.

Most patients are able to bear weight shortly after a vertebroplasty and can walk in about three hours after the procedure.

Unless directed otherwise, you may resume your normal diet and prescribed medications. Gradually increase activities, with no rigorous activities until the next day. You may feel soreness at the needle insertion site for 2-3 days. You can use an ice pack for up to 15 minutes per hour to relieve any discomfort.

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