Vertebroplasty in Colorado
Treatment for Vertebra Compression Fractures
Percutaneous vertebroplasty is a minimally-invasive procedure that uses
a medical grade cement injected into a fractured vertebral body (bone
of the spine). The procedure offers long-term pain relief for vertebral
compression fractures (VCFs).
Who is a candidate for vertebroplasty?
Vertebroplasty is used to stabilize a VCF allowing the patient to decrease
use of pain medicine and resume normal activity. The procedure is not
use for people with a blood-thinning disorder, an active infection, or
who are in poor health. Vertebroplasty is good for:
· Anyone who is unresponsive to conservative therapy.
· Patients who are at risk for developing complications due to a
What causes VFCs?
The most common cause of VCFs is osteoporosis. According to the Osteoporosis
Foundation, 10 million people in the U.S. have osteoporosis, which includes
half of women over age 50 years. Other causes are trauma, bone cancer,
How will I prepare for the vertebroplasty procedure?
Before the procedure, you will meet with the surgeon to discuss your condition
and needs. Once you and the doctor agree to vertebroplasty, the doctor
will order some diagnostic pre-operative tests. You must hold any medications
that thin the blood for 7 days before the procedure, and should arrange
to have someone drive you home and around to appointments for 2-3 weeks
after your procedure. Wear loose-fitting clothing for the procedure, and
don’t eat/drink after midnight the day beforehand.
How is the vertebroplasty done?
Vertebroplasty is performed in a surgical center. Most patients require
overnight stay, but some go home the same day. After you change into a
gown, the nurse places an IV catheter in your arm. Monitoring devices
are attached to your arms to check blood pressure and heart rate. After
you are positioned face-down, anesthesia is given. The doctor makes a
small incision over the targeted vertebra. Using fluoroscopic guidance,
a needle is advanced into the vertebral body. Once position is verified,
the bone cement is injected. After this, the needle is removed, and the
incision is closed with sutures.
What can I expect after the vertebroplasty procedure?
After vertebroplasty, you will be monitored in the recovery area for 1-2
hours as you awake from anesthesia. You will be moved to a room once you
are stable. The nurse will help you get to the bathroom, but you are not
permitted to lift, twist, or bend for a few days. The doctor may have
you see a physical therapist after you are discharged. You should keep
your incision clean and dry, avoid soaking in a tub, swimming, or getting
in a sauna for 7 days, and must return to your follow-up appointment to
have stitches removed.
Does vertebroplasty work?
In a study involving 231 patients, the use of vertebroplasty yielded a
90% success rate in treating osteoporotic vertebral fractures. In addition,
the procedure had an 80% efficacy rate for treating unstable neoplastic
lesions. All clinical studies have found that vertebroplasty offers noticeable
to excellent pain relief.
Does vertebroplasty hurt?
You will be given anesthesia, so you will have no memory of the procedure.
The doctor will also numb the region with a local agent, which helps with
post-operative pain. The nurses will give you medication to keep you comfortable.
Expect some pain at the incision site, but this can easily be relieved
with your medicines and post-operative measures.