What is a vertebroplasty?
Vertebroplasty is a treatment for vertebral compression fractures of the spine (VCF), which are a common result of osteoporosis. Vertebroplasty may also be used to relieve spinal pain in patients with cancer that has spread to the spine. The treatment aims to stabilise the fractured part of the spine and reduce pain. The vertebroplasty procedure is similar to balloon kyphoplasty.
What is involved in having a vertebroplasty?
During the procedure, a hollow needle is inserted and moved to the fracture site with the help of fluoroscopic X-ray guidance. It is then used to inject bone cement into the affected area of the spine which hardens within 20 minutes or so.
The procedure is normally carried out under local anaesthetic, which means you will be awake but should feel no pain. A vertebroplasty takes about an hour to perform, after which the puncture site of the needle is easily covered with a small bandage.
In most cases you will be able to return home the same day as your treatment, but bed rest is usually recommended for the first 24 hours and strenuous activity should be avoided for at least 6 weeks afterwards.