Vertebroplasty | Spine | Loyola Medicine


Minimally Invasive Surgical Technique to Treat Spine Fractures

Vertebroplasty is a type of vertebral augmentation surgery used to treat a spine fracture caused by a compression. At Loyola Medicine, orthopaedic surgeons, neurologists and neurosurgeons work together as an integrated team to find the best treatment options for patients suffering from spine fractures.

Spinal compression fractures can have a devastating impact on patients. They can lead to nerve damage, back pain, loss of height, a stooped posture or trouble walking. In extreme cases, patients are confined to bed. A spine fracture might be caused by trauma to the back, bone tumors or damage from osteoporosis. Symptoms include:

  • Numbness or tingling
  • Pain in the middle or lower back
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Urinary incontinence or urinary retention
  • Weakness

In a vertebroplasty procedure, your Loyola surgeon uses a fluoroscope to guide a needle under your skin to the site of the fracture in your vertebra (spine bone). A quick-hardening cement is injected through the needle into the fracture, stabilizing the vertebra and providing pain relief. 

The procedure is similar to a kyphoplasty, in which a balloon is placed inside the fracture and gently inflated make a space in the vertebra. The cement is injected slowly through the needle. A vertebroplasty is generally recommended for patients who have had more recent spinal fractures. 

Why Choose Loyola for Vertebroplasty?

Loyola’s spinal surgeons work closely with interventional radiologists and pain control specialists to provide compassionate, quality care. Spine surgery requires work on some of the smallest and most delicate parts of the body. In these cases, it is crucial to choose an experienced surgical team who specializes in spinal procedures. At Loyola, you will be cared for by an orthopaedic spine specialist who provides the most advanced treatment options using the latest technology. 

Loyola uses advanced intraoperative imaging, allowing surgeons to use CT (computed tomography) and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) technology to capture detailed 3D pictures of your spine during surgery. 

Loyola is one of only a few centers in the United States performing vertebroplasty. As a result of the procedure, patients experience relief from severe chronic back pain without the need for narcotic medications or major back surgery.

What to Expect During Vertebroplasty

A vertebroplasty is a minimally invasive procedure performed in a hospital or outpatient clinic. You will receive local anesthesia or general anesthesia (in which you will be asleep for the entire procedure). You will lie face down and your doctor will put a needle through your skin and into your spine. Using high pressure, a bone cement is injected through the needle into the space, restoring the shape of the bone. 

This procedure frequently gives patients relief from pain related to a compression fracture. The procedure itself takes less than hour, although it may take longer if you are having multiple vertebrae treated. You likely will be able to go home on the day of surgery, but you should not drive home. You will be able to return to your regular activities after about 24 hours but will need to avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activity for several weeks.

What are the Risks of Vertebroplasty?

Your Loyola surgeon will discuss the risks and benefits of any surgical treatment plan with you prior to surgery. The risks of vertebroplasty include nerve damage, spinal cord injury or compression, infection, vein thrombosis and blood clots. Loyola’s spine surgeons are highly skilled and are recognized for superior patient outcomes and will work to prevent any surgical complications.