What is it?

Compression fractures are when the small bones of the spine, called vertebrae, become fractured. This procedure involves a needle injection of a cement-like substance into the spine that stabilizes the fractures.

What is it for?

Compression fractures are painful and reduce mobility. A vertebroplasty is used to treat compression fractures. Untreated compression fractures can also lead to other problems such as breathing difficulties, deep vein thrombosis or osteoporosis. It can make you lose height.

How to prepare

  • Talk with your doctor about your complete medical history and medications you are taking
  • You’ll be given a physical examination
  • An X-ray will be done to determine the exact location of the fractures
  • You may be given a MRI or CT scan to see your spine in great detail


  • Blood loss or hemorrhaging
  • Fever
  • Infection
  • Rib or other bone fractures
  • Nerve irritation

What happens during?

  • You will be given sedation medication to help you relax
  • An X-ray will be used to guide the needle in the proper location in the spine
  • The needle is injected into the spine with the cement substance

What happens after?

  • You’ll be asked to lie flat on your back for approximately one hour after the procedure while the cement solidifies
  • You’ll be observed in a recovery room for one to two hours

Side effects

  • You may experience some pain for up to 72 hours following the procedure. Your doctor may recommend pain relief medication

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