Risk of Further Fractures After Fusion or Vertebroplasty Surgery
Doctor Advice

Risk of Further Fractures After Fusion or Vertebroplasty Surgery

Question: New fractures after spinal fusion or vertebroplasty?

I have a question on a spinal fusion or a vertebroplasty procedure. I have heard from a few people that new fractures adjacent to a spinal fusion or cemented vertebrea can cause new spinal fractures. Is this common with spinal fusion or vertebroplasty procedures? If so, how long after the surgery can this happen, and what can the surgeon do to correct this?

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Doctor’s Response: Further fractures are uncommon with vertebroplasty procedures

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It is not common to have the next vertebral body fracture after a fusion surgery, but it is fairly common after a vertebroplasty. However, most everybody who gets a vertebroplasty procedure has it done because of an osteoporotic compression fracture, and these patients are already prone to further compression fractures. It is not quite clear how much of this additional risk of a vertebral fracture is because of the vertebroplasty and how much is because of the patient’s susceptibility.

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In Spine-health’s Doctor Advice section, physicians respond to frequently asked questions about back pain issues. These responses represent the opinion of one physician, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the broader medical community. The advice presented has not been peer reviewed by Spine-health’s medical advisory board.

Article written by: Peter F. Ullrich, Jr., MD