Vertebroplasty

Surgery Overview

Vertebroplasty (say "VER-tuh-broh-plas-tee") is done to relieve pain from compression fractures of the spine.

The doctor will make a small cut in your back and insert a hollow needle or tube. When the needle is in place, the doctor injects a type of cement into the vertebra. The entire procedure can take about an hour. The cement mixture will get hard in about half an hour.

You will likely go home the same day. You may take some pain medicine for a few days.

How Well It Works

Experts don't all agree about how well vertebroplasty works. There is no strong evidence that vertebroplasty is better than nonsurgical treatment, such as pain medicine, rest, and exercise. If nonsurgical treatment doesn't help, vertebroplasty may be an option for some people.

Risks

Some possible problems from vertebroplasty include:

  • Allergic reactions.
  • Nerve damage.
  • Infection.

Problems are more common when more than one vertebra is treated at the same time.

Talk to your doctor about how this surgery compares with other treatments you might have.

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