What is it?

In a spine compression fracture, a portion of spine bone collapses or the entire spine bone collapses. A needle is inserted through the skin into the spine. X-rays are used to locate the area of the spine with the problem. A cement substance is injected into the bone that strengthens the collapsed area and can prevent it from collapsing again. This procedure is performed for thinning bones and to alleviate severe pain.

What is for?

To repair fractures in the bones of the spine. It is used for:

  • Osteoporosis, a thinning of the bones
  • A damaged vertebra from cancer
  • Pain relief

How to prepare

  • Communicate with your health care provider about your health history and medications you are taking
  • You may have preliminary X-rays or an MRI
  • You will be given instructions about what to eat and drink prior to the procedure
  • Arrange for someone to drive you home following the procedure


  • Bleeding
  • Damage to nerves
  • Leaking cement
  • Infection
  • Lung or heart complications
  • Back pain

What happens during?

  • The procedure takes about an hour
  • You will be given anesthesia
  • Tiny incisions will be made in your back
  • Using X-rays as a guide, a hollow tube is placed through the incision into the vertebra
  • A small balloon is passed through the tube into the vertebra
  • The balloon is inflated to create a space
  • The balloon is taken out and the newly-created space is filled with a special cement made specifically for bones

What happens after?

  • Remove bandages one to two days after surgery
  • Don’t shower or soak one to two days after surgery
  • Ice the incision site intermittently
  • You may be instructed to wear a back brace
  • Keep your head elevated when lying down one to two days after surgery
  • Do moderate walking for short periods of time
  • Do not drive for two days and never drive while taking pain medication
  • Don’t lift anything heavier than 10 pounds for three months. After three months, consult with your health care provider about lifting heavy objects

Side effects

Call your health care provider immediately if you are at home and:

  • Are experiencing shortness of breath or chest pain
  • Have swelling, red discoloration, warmth, drainage or pain at the incision site
  • Have tingling, weakness or numbness in the legs
  • Have a fever above 100°F
  • Have chills causing you to shake