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The spine (or backbone) is made up of bones called vertebrae, which are linked together. A VCF occurs when the front of a vertebra (known as the vertebral body) fractures and collapses, often causing pain and increasing the risk of further fractures. Over time, some people also lose height or their spine can become curved. During a vertebroplasty, a special cement is injected into the spine to stabilise the fracture(s) and reduce pain.

Why you might need it

Your doctor might recommend vertebroplasty to relieve the pain caused by VCFs.

Many VCFs are caused by osteoporosis, a disease which causes the bones to become more brittle and liable to break more easily. Fractures can also occur as a result of some types of cancer.

Many people recover from VCFs through a combination of rest, pain-killing medication and spinal support, but this is not always the case.

Vertebroplasty is usually undertaken with a local anaesthetic so you’ll be awake but will not feel pain. During the procedure your doctor will insert a hollow needle and inject bone cement (a synthetic resin). You can usually return home on the same day.

Who will do it?

Our patients are at the heart of what we do and we want you to be in control of your care. To us, that means you can choose the consultant you want to see, and when you want. They'll be with you every step of the way.

All of our consultants are of the highest calibre and benefit from working in our modern, well-equipped hospitals.

Our consultants have high standards to meet, often holding specialist NHS posts and delivering expertise in complex sub-speciality surgeries. Many of our consultants have international reputations for their research in their specialised field.

Our team of highly regarded orthopaedic consultants, expert nursing staff, physiotherapists and consultant radiologists with an onsite imaging department, offer treatment for a wide range of orthopaedic conditions. Whatever care or treatment you need, we have the expertise and the facilities to help you on the road to recovery without delay.

Before your treatment

You will have a formal consultation with a healthcare professional. During this time you will be able to explain your medical history, symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.

We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests, such as scans or blood tests, are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.

Preparing for your treatment

We've tried to make your experience with us as easy and relaxed as possible.

For more information on visiting hours, our food, what to pack if you're staying with us, parking and all those other important practicalities, please visit our patient information pages.

Our dedicated team will also give you tailored advice to follow in the run up to your visit.

The procedure

We understand that having any medical treatment can potentially be a time of anxiety and worry. Our experienced and caring medical staff will be there for you to answer your questions and offer reassurance and support.

Your doctor will give you a local anaesthetic which means you’ll be awake but you shouldn’t feel any pain. You may also be given some sedation to help you feel calm and relaxed.

Once your back is feeling numb, the doctor will insert a hollow needle that he or she will move to the fracture site with the help of X-ray images. The needle is used to inject bone cement (a synthetic resin) into the affected part of the spine. This will harden within 20 minutes and provide stability, which should reduce the pain.

Your surgeon will then cover the site where the needle went in with a small bandage.

This all takes around an hour and you’ll usually be able to go home on the day.

Aftercare

Once you are ready to go home you'll need a friend or relative to pick you up as patients are usually advised not to drive immediately after the procedure.


Your recovery

Many people feel benefits in tems of pain relief within 48 hours of the procedure. Follow your doctors's advice about returning to work and usual activities - you can usually return to them as soon as you feel able.


How your loved ones can help

If you live alone you should ask a friend or relative to stay or to visit you the next day – perhaps to prepare your food or to do a little shopping.

You may not be able engage in strenuous activity (even some of the heavier housework chores or lifting heavy shopping bags) for 6-8 weeks so you might want to ask if they can help you during that time.


Looking after you

Even after you’ve left hospital, we’re still looking after you every step of the way. When you leave we’ll provide you with relevant advice and information.

As with all medical treatments complications can occur but most people are unaffected. Potential complications include excessive bleeding, infection, leaks of the bone cement used during the procedure or new fractures. You'll be given a contact number for the hospital.

We will talk to you about the possible risks and complications of having this procedure and how they apply to you.

If you have any questions or concerns, we’re ready to help.

Why choose Spire?

We are committed to delivering excellent individual care and customer service across our network of hospitals, clinics and specialist care centres around the UK. Our dedicated and highly trained team aim to achieve consistently excellent results. For us it's more than just treating patients, it's about looking after people.

How much does it cost?

A fixed price for this treatment may be available on enquiry and following an initial consultation.

When every movement is slow and painful, it’s good to know that expert private care for bone and joint problems and injuries isn’t far away. In fact, high quality medical care and technical expertise is available right on your doorstep, from the Cheshire Orthopaedic Centre at Spire Cheshire Hospital.

We provide a fast and flexible service offering you daytime and evening appointments for consultations, diagnostic tests and treatment. This means you can usually be seen within a few days of your enquiry, at a convenient time for you.

We pride ourselves on offering our orthopaedic patients the utmost level of pre and post-operative care in a clinical environment renowned for its high standard of nursing care and very low infection rates.

Important to note

The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.