Vertebroplasty For Spinal Fractures


A vertebroplasty is a surgical operation designed to stabilize the fracture site after a spinal fracture. It is a minimally invasive operation that is performed through a small opening on the patient’s back, and when performed by an experienced spine surgeon, can be completed in about an hour. Here’s a closer look at the operation and the expected recovery timetable.

What To Expect During A Vertebroplasty

Here is a step-by-step guide of how a vertebroplasty is performed:

  1. The patient is positioned on their stomach on the operating table and is given a local anesthetic and light sedation to ensure their is no pain during the procedure.
  2. A small puncture is made in the skin on the patient’s back, and a biopsy needed is guided to the fracture site using X-ray guidance through this opening.
  3. A special acrylic bone cement is injected under pressure directly into the fractured vertebrae. The cement fills the cracks, creating an internal cast to stabilize the fracture.
  4. The biospy needle is removed and the cement is allowed to harden, which usually only takes about 10-15 minutes. Once the fractured fragments are stabilized, the doctor will close the puncture site and the patient will be discharged to a recovery room or allowed to stay on the operating table until the anesthesia has worn off.

The cement will fully stabilize the spine once it hardens, so once the surgeon is sure the cement has done its job the patient will be allowed to stand and leave the medical facility. You’ll likely need to bring a friend or family member to drive you home from surgery, but an overnight stay is not typically required unless a separate issue is also being addressed that requires observation or additional care.

After you’re back home, the first few days are key. Bedrest or minimal activity is advised for the first 24 hours to ensure you don’t overload the fracture site, but activities are increased shortly thereafter. You may begin light physical therapy or exercises after a few days if granted the green light from your surgeon.

Vertebroplasty Surgery in St. Paul, MN

The success rates of vertebroplasty operations are very high. More than 90 percent of patients report less pain or more functional movement within 24-48 hours after the operation, and many are back to their daily lives within a couple days after surgery. Complications, which include infection, excessive bleeding, increased pain and paralysis are rare, occurring in less than three percent of all cases.

For more information on the procedure contact Dr. Chang’s office today.


David Chang, MD-PhD, DABNS
1835 County Road C West, Suite 150
Roseville, MN 55113
Phone: 651-219-7292
Fax: 651-430-3827

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