Over 700,000 new cases of vertebral compression fractures (VCF) occur each year, typically affecting elderly men and women with osteoporosis. Younger patient may also suffer from VCF due to fragile bones from chronic steroid use. For many elderly, VCF typically means debilitating constant pain, reduced mobility, narcotic pharmacotherapy, and reduced quality of life. Although surgical options exist, spinal surgery is invasive, difficult and risky and therefore is not typically applicable, except as a last option.
Vertebroplasty is a relatively new treatment available for painful compression fractures. Using fluoroscopic guidance, interventional radiologist delivers a bone cement mixture (PMMA) into the broken vertebra percutaneously without a surgical incision. Vertebroplasty is an outpatient procedure and often performed under 1 hour. Typically, pain is resolved within few days, allowing patients to return to daily activities.