Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have a vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty, your doctor will review a list of possible complications which may include:
Leakage of the cement into the spinal canal or into adjacent veins
Increased back pain
Fracture of adjacent vertebra or ribs
Your doctor may feel that the risks of these procedures are too great if you have:
Vertebral fractures that extend into the spinal canal area
Radiculopathy—irritation of a nerve root in the area of the fracture that often causes areas of numbness, tingling, or weakness in the leg
Unusually soft or porous bones
If you have vertebral fracture due to
osteoporosis, vertebroplasty may not be as effective.
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
You will receive a complete physical exam and blood tests.
You will have imaging studies of your back, such as:
Bone scans—tests that use radiation to take pictures of structures inside the body, especially bones
MRI scan—a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of structures inside the body
CT scan—a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of the inside of the body
Talk to your doctor about your medicines. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to one week before the procedure, like:
You will be asked to lie down on your stomach. X-ray cameras will be positioned around you. The cameras will show images of the bone. Your doctor will use this to verify the position of the needles and cement.
The skin over the fractured bone will be numbed and sterilized. A hollow needle will be passed into the vertebra. The acrylic cement will be mixed into a toothpaste-like consistency. An added substance, called barium, will improve the images. When the needle position is ideal, the cement will be injected into the fractured bone. The doctor will watch the cement as it enters the bone to check for leaks.
Your doctor will begin by making a small incision in your back. A tiny drill will be used to create an opening in the bone. A special balloon will be passed through. The balloon will be inflated to open the space and correct the deformity. After the balloon is removed, acrylic cement will be injected into the cavity. This will help to maintain the correction.
Immediately After Procedure
You may have a CT scan to confirm the position of the cement. You will stay on your stomach for about 10-20 minutes. This will allow the cement to harden. You will then be moved to a recovery room. You will be asked to lie on your back for another hour or so.
How Long Will It Take?
40 minutes to 2 hours
How Much Will It Hurt?
You may feel some initial pain due to lying on your stomach. Many notice immediate and significant relief from pain.
Average Hospital Stay
You will usually only need to stay in the hospital for a few hours. You may need to stay longer if you have any complications.
At the Hospital
You will be monitored for a few hours for any complications.
You may notice some discomfort at the site of the needle insertion or the tiny incision. This is often relieved through the use of an ice pack (use only for 15 minutes per hour).
or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine may also help. You may also be given medicine to prevent muscle spasm.
You will be asked to stay in bed for about 24 hours after the procedure. After 24 hours, you can gradually increase your activities up to your usual level.
Be sure to follow your doctor’s
Call Your Doctor
After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
Signs of infection, including fever and chills
Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or any discharge from the incision site or the needle insertion site
¹11/9/2009 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance
DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance: Buchbinder R, Osborne RH, Ebeling PR, et al. A randomized trial of vertebroplasty for painful osteoporotic vertebral fractures.
N Engl J Med.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a