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A vertebroplasy is a minimally invasive procedure to correct an osteoporotic vertebral fracture and further stabilise your spine.

What happens during a vertebroplasty?

A vertebroplasty is usually performed under local anaesthetic and takes about one hour. You may also be given light sedation to help you relax.

You will lie on your stomach. Your back will be cleaned and the area will be numbed. Using a hollow needle your consultant will insert special bone cement into your fractured vertebrae. They may use an x-ray to help guide the needle into the right area(s). The cement fills any space within your collapsed vertebrae, allowing it to expand and stabilise. They will remove the needle and apply a small plaster if needed.

You will need to lie flat for one to two hours after your procedure. You will not be able to drive so please arrange for someone to drive you home.

Going home after vertebroplasty

Most patients can resume normal daily activities 24-48 hours after a vertebroplasty. In many cases back pain begins to decrease within 48 hours.  You may have some bruising or soreness around the injection site. Take over the counter pain relief such as paracetamol if needed.

You may be asked avoid strenuous activity or heavy lifting for up to 6 weeks after your vertebroplasty.

As with any surgical procedure there could be complications including:

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
Specific complications following a vertebroplasty may include:
  • Nerve irritation
  • Numbness
  • Leaking cement
  • No pain relief.
Glasgow Hospital

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