Spinal compression fractures in your vertebrae may occur when your bones are weakened by a condition like osteoporosis or cancer. In response, vertebroplasty, a vertebral augmentation procedure, may be performed to stabilize the fracture and decrease your pain.

See When Back Pain Is a Spine Compression Fracture

Your options for a spine fracture include conservative care, kyphoplasty surgery, and vertebroplasty surgery. Watch: Vertebroplasty Procedure Video

Our video walk-through can help you understand how this minimally invasive procedure works.

See Vertebral Augmentation for Compression Fractures


Video highlights

The above image shows the thoracic spine (in purple). This section of your spine includes the T1-T12 vertebrae, where compression fractures are most likely to occur.

See Thoracic Spine Anatomy and Upper Back Pain

Compression fractures may also occur in the L1-L5 vertebrae in your lumbar spine (lower back), shown again in purple. If conservative treatments such as rest, pain medications, and heat and/or cold therapy fail to relieve your pain, your surgeon may recommend vertebroplasty.

See Compression Fracture Treatment

The procedure

To get started with the procedure, your surgeon may first reset your fractured vertebrae by manipulating your body. You will then be asked to lie face down on the operating table.

See Understanding Spinal Manipulation

Next, your surgeon will puncture your skin over the affected vertebra with a biopsy needle.

With the help of X-ray guidance (pictured above), your surgeon will next push the needle deep into your vertebral body. To accomplish this, he or she may use a rotary motion or a tapping mullet.

Once the needle is in position, your surgeon will inject a low-viscosity bone cement into the affected vertebra, which will then spread throughout the weakened portion of the bone. A second injection may be necessary depending on how quickly the cement spreads.

The above image shows the internal cast that is created as the cement quickly hardens. You may be asked to turn over and lie flat on your back for around 5 minutes as the cement continues to harden.

See Vertebroplasty Procedure

It is important to note that the entire process may be repeated on the other side of your vertebral body.

To conclude, your surgeon will bandage your skin that was punctured by the needle.

See Potential Risks of Vertebral Augmentation

Surgery outcomes

The success rates of easing pain from a compression fracture via vertebroplasty are relatively high. Many patients experience a 90 percent reduction in pain within 24 to 48 hours. Also, because it is minimally invasive, the procedure is considered low risk.

See Vertebroplasty After a Painful Spine Fracture

And more good news is that most patients can go home on the same day as a vertebroplasty is done.

Learn more:

Osteoporosis Treatment and Management

Vertebral Fracture Symptoms