Vertebroplasty involves inserting a glue-like material into the center of the collapsed spinal vertebra to stabilize and strengthen the crushed bone. The material is inserted through a needle and syringe, entering the midportion of the vertebra under the guidance of X-ray equipment. Once inserted, the material hardens to form a cast-like structure within the broken bone. Relief of pain comes quickly from this casting effect, and the newly hardened vertebra is then protected from further collapse. In addition to prompt pain relief, another advantage of vertebroplasty is improved mobility.
Vertebroplasty is an outpatient procedure for stabilizing compression fractures in the spine. Bone cement is injected into vertebrae that have cracked or broken, often due to osteoporosis. Once injected, the material hardens to form a cast-like structure within the broken bone. Relief of pain comes quickly from this casting effect, and the newly hardened vertebra is then protected from further collapse.
Vertebroplasty is considered a minimally invasive surgical procedure because the it is done through a small puncture in the patient’s skin, as opposed to an open incision. A typical vertebroplasty procedure usually takes about an hour to complete.
After the needle is removed, the cement hardens quickly (about 10 minutes), congealing the fragments of the fractured vertebra and stabilizing the bone.
Shortly after the cement has hardened, the patient is free to leave the medical facility and can go home the same day, though patients are usually advised not to drive themselves. For the first 24 hours after a vertebroplasty procedure, bedrest is typically recommended. Activities may gradually be increased and most regular medication can be resumed. The patient may experience a bit of soreness at the puncture site for the next few days, which may be relieved with an ice pack. Most patients undergoing the vertebroplasty procedure experience 90% or better reduction in pain within 24-48 hours and increased ability to perform daily activities shortly thereafter.