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Vertebroplasty is a procedure in which physicians use imaging guidance to inject a cement-like mixture into a fractured bone to treat painful vertebral compression fractures in the spinal column. These compression fractures are a common result of osteoporosis. Vertebroplasty is often recommended after less invasive treatments, such as bed rest, a back brace or pain medication, have been ineffective.

While vertebroplasty is used most often to treat fractures from the effects of osteoporosis, it can also be indicated for:

  • Elderly or frail patients who have impaired bone healing after a fracture

  • Patients who have a vertebral compression due to a malignant tumor

  • Patients who suffer from osteoporosis due to long-term steroid treatment or a metabolic disorder

During vertebroplasty, the bone is injected with a cement mixture that fuses the fragments, strengthens the vertebrae and provides pain relief.

A local anesthetic is used to numb the skin, then, using imaging guidance, the hollow needle or trocar is passed through the skin into the vertebral body for injection of the cement mixture into the vertebrae.

Vertebroplasty is an image-guided, minimally invasive procedure and is most often performed by a specially trained interventional radiologist or neuroradiologist in an interventional radiology or neuroradiology suite, or occasionally in an operating room.

This procedure is often performed on an outpatient basis, but some patients do require hospital admission.

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