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Professional Radiology and Outpatient Imaging Services

Procedure Prep - Vertebroplasty

How should I prepare for my procedure?

If your previous imaging was not done at one of our locations, you may be asked to contact your former provider and request that your film be sent to us for a comparison study.

Complete preparation instructions will be given to you by a hospital staff member. In general, the following apply:

  • Do not eat or drink anything for 2-4 hours prior to the procedure.
  • Bring someone to drive you home.
  • If you are taking blood thinners (Coumadin, Plavix or Ticlid), you will have to stop the medication prior to the procedure. Contact your healthcare provider before stopping any medication to determine if it is safe for you.


Either a CT or MRI will be performed to confirm the presence of a compression fracture. A board certified neuroradiologist will analyze the images and determine the age and location of the fracture. You will have an hour-long consultation with a healthcare provider specially trained in vertebroplasty. A physical evaluation will be performed using fluoroscopy, a type of low-dose x-ray.

What happens during my procedure?

You will be sedated and receive a local anesthetic to numb the skin and muscles near the spinal fracture. Guided by a fluoroscope, a radiologist will place a hollow needle into the fractured vertebra through a small incision. Once the needle is in the proper location, orthopedic cement is injected. This cement hardens quickly over the next 10-20 minutes.

What happens after my procedure?

A summary of the procedure will be sent to your healthcare provider.

Most patients are able to bear weight shortly after a vertebroplasty and can walk in about three hours after the procedure.

Unless directed otherwise, you may resume your normal diet and prescribed medications. Gradually increase activities, with no rigorous activities until the next day. You may feel soreness at the needle insertion site for 2-3 days. You can use an ice pack for up to 15 minutes per hour to relieve any discomfort.