What is vertebroplasty?
Vertebroplasty is an image-guided, minimally invasive, non-surgical therapy used to strengthen a broken vertebra that has been weakened by osteoporosis, or less commonly, cancer. Vertebroplasty is accomplished by placing an orthopedic cement mixture through a trocar, and injecting it into the abnormal vertebral body.
When is vertebroplasty performed?
After menopause, women are especially vulnerable to bone loss. More than one-fourth of women over age 65 will develop a vertebral compression fracture due to osteoporosis. Typically, vertebroplasty is recommended after simpler treatments such as bed rest, a back brace or pain medication have been ineffective, or once medications have begun to cause other problems, like stomach ulcers.
What can I expect after vertebroplasty?
Patients begin regaining mobility within 24 hours after the procedure and are usually able to reduce, or even eliminate, their pain medication. After vertebroplasty, the cement stabilizes the fracture, which is thought to provide the pain relief. Vertebroplasty can increase the patient’s functional abilities, allow a return to the previous level of activity, and prevent further vertebral collapse.