How a Vertebroblasty Procedure Eases Spinal Compression Fracture Pain

Compression fractures in the vertebrae may occur when bones are weakened by osteoporosis or cancer. Vertebral augmentation procedures such as vertebroplasty and kyphopasty may be done to stabilize the fracture and decrease your pain.

We recently added the Vertebroplasty Interactive Video to our HealthRcovered Video Library to help you understand how this minimally invasive procedure works.

Video highlights

Below are some images with explanations taken from the video.

This image shows the thoracic spine in purple, which includes the T1 through T12 vertebrae, where compression fractures are most likely to occur.

Compression fractures may also occur in the L1 through L5 vertebrae in the lumbar (or lower) spine, shown here again in purple. If conservative treatment such as rest, pain medications, and heat and ice treatment fail to relieve the pain, your surgeon may recommend vertebroplasty.

To get started with the procedure, your surgeon may first reset your fractured vertebrae by manipulating your body before the surgery. Then, you will be asked to lie face down on the operating table.

Next your surgeon will puncture your skin over the affected vertebra with a biopsy needle.

With the help of X-ray guidance, your surgeon will then push the needle deep into your vertebral body. To do this, he or she may use a rotary motion or a tapping mullet.

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Once the needle is in position, your surgeon will inject a low-viscosity bone cement into the vertebra, which will spread throughout the weakened portion of the bone. A second injection may be necessary depending on how quickly the cement spreads.

This image shows the internal cast that is created as the cement hardens quickly.

You may be asked to turn over and lie flat on your back for around 5 minutes while the cement continues to harden. The entire process may be repeated on the other side of your vertebral body.

Finally, your surgeon will bandage your skin where the needle went in. Most patients can go home on the same day as a vertebropasty is done.

The success rates of easing pain from a compression fracture using this procedure are relatively high, and because it is minimally invasive, it is considered low risk.

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