Vertebroplasty is a minimally invasive treatment developed to treat pain caused by vertebral compression fractures, and has been safely performed since 1987. Using fluoroscopic (x-ray) imaging, an interventional radiologist precisely inserts a needle into the collapsed vertebral body through a small incision in the skin. This image-guided technique allows the doctor to accurately access the fracture while minimizing any trauma to surrounding tissue. A medical-grade liquid cement is then injected into the center of the vertebrae. As the cement solidifies, the broken bone is stabilized. The treatment is performed with the patient face-down and sedated for their comfort. Afterwards, many patients feel immediate relief from pain, and can be discharged home the same day.
As with any treatment, vertebroplasty has some risks, which include infection, cement dislodgement, and in rare cases, spinal cord injury.
**Information sourced from the Society of Interventional Radiology.