Vertebroplasty is an image-guided, minimally invasive, nonsurgical therapy used to strengthen the vertebra (spinal bone) weakened by osteoporosis, or cancer. Vertebroplasty can increase the patient's functional abilities, allowing them to return to the previous level of activity, and prevent further vertebral collapse. It is usually successful at alleviating the pain. Performed as an outpatient procedure, vertebroplasty is accomplished by injecting a bone cement mixture through a needle into the fractured bone.
The goals of vertebroplasty, as a surgical procedure, are to stabilize the spinal fracture and alleviate pain caused by the fracture. This is a minimally invasive procedure as it accomplished by doing a small puncture in the patient's skin.
What to expect
A typical vertebroplasty involves the following steps:
- The patient is treated with local anesthesia or light sedation sometimes.
- A biopsy needle is guided into the fractured vertebra, under X-ray guidance, through a small puncture in the patient's skin.
- Specially formulated acrylic bone cement is injected under pressure directly into the fractured a, filling the spaces within the bone. This makes a type of internal cast (a cast within the vertebra) to stabilize the vertebral bone.
- The needle is removed and the cement hardens quickly (within 10 minutes), congealing the fragments of the fractured vertebra and stabilizing the bone.
- The small skin puncture is covered with a bandage.
- Shortly after the cement has hardened, the patient is free to leave the medical facility and can go home the same day.
Recovery from Vertebroplasty
- Patient is usually advised rest for at least 24 hours. 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. Their ability to carry daily activities increases shortly thereafter.