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Vertebroplasty

What is Vertebroplasty?

Vertebroplasty is a brief outpatient procedure that stabilizes painful compression fractures in the spine by injecting them with a specially formulated cement. Like kyphoplasty, it is commonly used to treat fractures caused by osteoporosis, trauma, or chemotherapy. Patients are typically considered good candidates for the minimally invasive procedure if a fracture is causing severe, disabling pain.

What to expect during Vertebroplasty

Your doctor will use a medical history, physical exam, and imaging such as an X-ray, MRI, or CT scan to determine the exact location and nature of your fracture. Patients are sedated before the spine surgeon inserts a needle into the fractured vertebra, using advanced imaging technology for guidance. Spaces caused by the fracture are filled with a specially formulated cement, and the skin puncture is covered by a small adhesive bandage.

Vertebroplasty takes about an hour, and patients can usually resume normal activity within a few days. Relief from the pain is usually noticed within hours of the procedure. Your spine surgeon will give you specific information related to your condition and lifestyle goals, as well as a detailed description of the surgery and instructions on how to make the best recovery.

What you can expect at UTHealth Neurosciences

The UTHealth Neurosciences Spine Center brings together a multidisciplinary team of board-certified, fellowship-trained neurosurgeons, neurologists, researchers, and pain management specialists who work together to help provide relief for even the most complex problems. Your team will share insights, leading to better treatment decisions and outcomes.

We first investigate nonsurgical treatment options, including medical management, pain management, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and watchful waiting. When surgery is needed, our neurosurgeons routinely employ innovative minimally invasive techniques. Throughout the treatment process, we will work closely with the doctor who referred you to ensure a smooth transition back to your regular care. While you are with us, you will receive expert care, excellent communication, and genuine compassion.

Anatomy of the neck and spine

  • The cervical region (vertebrae C1-C7) encompasses the first seven vertebrae under the skull. Their main function is to support the weight of the head, which averages 10 pounds. The cervical vertebrae are more mobile than other areas, with the atlas and axis vertebra facilitating a wide range of motion in the neck. Openings in these vertebrae allow arteries to carry blood to the brain and permit the spinal cord to pass through. They are the thinnest and most delicate vertebrae.
  • The thoracic region (vertebrae T1-T12) is composed of 12 small bones in the upper chest. Thoracic vertebrae are the only ones that support the ribs. Muscle tension from poor posture, arthritis, and osteoporosis are common sources of pain in this region.
  • The lumbar region (vertebrae L1-L5) features vertebrae that are much larger to absorb the stress of lifting and carrying heavy objects. Injuries to the lumbar region can result in some loss of function in the hips, legs, and bladder control.
  • The sacral region (vertebrae S1-S5) includes a large bone at the bottom of the spine. The sacrum is triangular-shaped and consists of five fused bones that protect the pelvic organs.

Spine Disease and Back Pain


Contact Us

At UTHealth Neurosciences, we offer patients access to specialized neurological care at clinics across the greater Houston area. To ask us a question, schedule an appointment, or learn more about us, please call (713) 486-8100, or click below to send us a message. In the event of an emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Room.


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