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Vertebroplasty is a minimally invasive procedure designed to relieve back pain caused by fractures in the vertebrae in the spine that have failed to normally heal. By injecting bone cement into the compressed vertebra, the fracture is stabilized, significantly improving or alleviating back pain. Vertebroplasty also prevents further vertebral collapse, which is associated with height loss and the curving of the spine commonly seen with osteoporosis. With non-surgical therapies like vertebroplasty, you may experience less pain and risk, and can return quickly to previous activity levels. Scroll to the end to learn more about vertebroplasty and the causes.

Watch a Video on Vertebroplasty

Learn more about this exam:

  • We will contact you prior to your appointment to review medications you are currently taking, your medical history, potential risks and answer any of your questions.
  • Contact your provider before you stop taking any medication.
  • If you have films, reports or CD-ROMs of any MRI, CT or X-rays you have already had, please bring them to the appointment.
  • You will meet with the radiologist prior to the day of the procedure for a consultation. The procedure will be discussed in detail at this time. As with any medical procedure, you are encouraged to ask questions.
  • The use of sedation during your procedure is at the radiologist's discretion. If prescribed, detailed instructions will be given to you.
  • If sedated, you will need someone to drive you home and stay with you for 12 hours post-procedure due to the effects of the medications.
  • At the time of your appointment, women should always inform their provider or X-ray technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant or if they are breast feeding.
  • A vertebroplasty is an advanced injection procedure. Overall you should plan on approximately two hours of your time for this procedure from check-in until you leave the clinic.
  • You will lie on your stomach on a cushioned table. The radiologist will numb a small area of skin using a local anesthetic.
  • Using X-ray guidance, our specialized radiologist will insert a thin needle and inject contrast solution. The contrast solution will highlight your anatomy to make sure the vertebrae thought to be causing your pain are precisely targeted.
  • The radiologist will insert a specialized needle through the skin into the damaged vertebra. The bone cement, which has the consistency of toothpaste, will be injected through the needle into the bone.
  • The material will begin to harden over 10-20 minutes, that can result in stabilizing the fractured vertebra.
  • It is possible to treat more than one fractured vertebra at a time, if necessary.
  • Throughout the procedure, a radiologist and nurse will monitor your condition and comfort level closely.
  • You will be asked to stay at our center for a period of time after the procedure, depending on the number of fractures that are treated.

Although complications are rare, we will review possible side effects and risks with you prior to your exam so you can ask questions and decide if this exam is right for you.


NOTE: This procedure is not performed in all of our centers. Please contact the location or region nearest you for more information or to schedule an appointment. We are happy to help answer any questions you may have!