Vertebroplasty is a procedure in which a special medical-grade cement mixture is injected into a fractured vertebra. The vertebrae are the small bones that make up the spine. When they become fractured, you will often experience pain and a loss of mobility.
When vertebroplasty is successful, the cement mixture injection stabilizes the vertebra and allows you to return to normal activity after a recovery period.
The main reason you would need a vertebroplasty is treat a fractured vertebra in your spine that’s causing pain and reduced function. Not all people with fractured vertebrae are candidates for a vertebroplasty, however. Your doctor may try other, more conservative methods of treating the pain first: bed rest, pain relievers, muscle relaxants, back braces, or physical therapy.These are reasons that your doctor may consider a vertebroplasty for your fractured vertebra:
The vertebroplasty procedure is generally well-tolerated, with a low risk for side effects. The complication rate of vertebroplasty is about 1% to 3%, and most of these complications are minor.
Here are the risks factors associated with receiving a vertebroplasty:
Based on your medical condition, your doctor may give you other specific preparation instructions.
These are the typical steps in a vertebroplasty procedure:
After the procedure, you will be probably lie flat on your back for 1 hour while the cement hardens.
Once the procedure is complete and the cement has hardened, you will likely remain in an observation room for an additional 1 hour to 2 hours. This will allow the doctor to make sure that the procedure was successful. You will then likely be able to stand and walk with little or no pain.
You may experience pain relief almost immediately after the procedure, but for some people it takes up to 72 hours. Your doctor may provide you with over-the-counter pain relievers to help ease the discomfort.
Before you are discharged from the hospital, the doctor will probably perform an assessment of your pain and check for any possible complications. You can also expect a follow-up office visit in the coming weeks to make sure that the procedure has continued to be successful for you. Sometimes your doctor may want to continue to brace your back after the procedure, but often this is unnecessary