Vertebroplasty is a medical procedure where bone cement is percutaneously injected into a fractured vertebra in order to stabilize it. The procedure is typically used for a spine fracture caused by osteoporosis, a disease that causes weakening of the bones and can lead to fractures in the vertebral bodies (those bones that make up the spinal column). An osteoporotic fracture can cause extreme back pain along with other symptoms, such as decreased height and spinal deformity or a hunchback appearance.
The main goal of vertebroplasty is to reduce pain caused by the fracture by stabilizing the bone. Vertebroplasty is typically performed by a spine surgeon or interventional radiologist. It is a minimally invasive procedure and patients usually go home the same day as the procedure. These procedures can even be performed with local anesthetic only for patients with severe lung disease who cannot tolerate sedatives well.
A related procedure known as kyphoplasty involves placement of a balloon into a collapsed vertebra, followed by injection of bone cement to stabilize the fracture. This procedure is more commonly performed in the hospital setting. It requires the use of slightly bigger needles than the vertebroplasty procedure, and therefore there is typically slightly more post-procedural pain. Both procedures typically are very effective, reducing pain in almost 90% of well-selected patients.