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What is vertebroplasty?

A vertebroplasty is a procedure used to treat compression fractures in your spine. Your vertebrae are the bones that make up your spinal column. They surround and protect your spinal cord. When one of your vertebra fractures, it collapses and can narrow the area around your spinal cord. This can lead to pain. In a vertebroplasty, your doctor injects an acrylic cement mixture into the fractured vertebra. The cement mixture fills in and strengthens the fractured vertebra to relieve pain.

A vertebroplasty is a minimally invasive procedure. Your doctor may only consider this procedure if other options with less risk of complications have failed. These may include bed rest, pain medication, back braces, and physical therapy for several weeks without satisfactory back pain relief. Vertebroplasty is most likely to be successful when used within eight weeks after a vertebral compression fracture.

A vertebroplasty is only one method used to treat a vertebral compression fracture. Discuss all of your different treatment options with your doctor to understand which options are right for you.  

Medical Reviewers: Daphne E. Hemmings, MD, MPH Last Review Date: Jul 14, 2013

© 2015 Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement.

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Medical References

  1. Evaluating postoperative fever: A focused approach. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. http://ccjm.org/content/73/Suppl_1/S62.full.pdf.
  2. Osteoporosis Pain Treatment. Society of Interventional Radiology. http://www.sirweb.org/patients/vertebroplasty-osteoporosis/.
  3. Predey TA, Sewall LE, Smith SJ. Percutaneous vertebroplasty: new treatment for vertebral compression fractures. Am Fam Physician. 2002 Aug 15;66(4):611-616. http://www.aafp.org/afp/2002/0815/p611.html.
  4. Vertebroplasty. Merriam-Webster. http://www.merriam-webster.com/medical/vertebroplasty.
  5. Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty. American College of Radiology. http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=vertebro.
  6. Vertebroplasty for Spine Fracture Pain. American Academy of Family Physicians. http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/articles/748.html.

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