What is percutaneous Vertebroplasty?

Percutaneous vertebroplasty is a mini-invasive treatment with a very simple principle: it calls for the insertion of one or two needles inside the vertebral body, and the injection through of a biomaterial that is generally an acrylic resin.

What are the indications?

The indications for vertebroplasty are: osteoporotic vertebral fractures, neoplastic pathological vertebral fractures, and vertebral angiomas.

Which are benefits and results of this technique?

The results demonstrated in literature are very encouraging and extremely good. In osteoporotic vertebral fractures results are achieved in the region of 70-90% in terms of controlling painful symptoms, and 70-80% in stabilizing the fractures, while in neoplastic pathologies the results are slightly lower. The advantage of vertebroplasty as compared to conservative therapy is that the results it achieves, both in terms of pain and stabilization, are nearly immediate; that is, after just a few hours the patient feels a noticeable reduction in symptomatology and is able to walk again and get up from bed.

Are there complications?

Complications are possible. The frequency of complications is very low: literature indicates a frequency of complications of approximately 1-5%. Complications are more frequent in neoplastic pathologies. The main complications stem from spillage of the cement into the vertebral environment, therefore leading to the possibility of the cement compressing the spinal marrow or the roots. Other possible complications derive from traumas during the insertion of the needle.

What are the contra-indications?

The main indication for vertebroplasty is significant spinal pain that does not respond well to conservative medical therapy, and therefore the principal contra-indication of vertebroplasty is pain that is less significant and is responding positively to conservative therapy. Other contra-indications are constituted by coagulopathy that cannot be rectified, by the presence of a preeminent radicular symptomatology as compared with painful spinal symptomatology, and by compression of the bone marrow or the roots of "cauda equina".