Vertebral Augmentation


Spinal fractures are surprisingly common and can be caused by a variety of factors, including trauma and osteoporosis. Fractures cause the bones to compress and collapse, resulting in compromised posture and pain.

If you have a spinal fracture, your physician may recommend augmentation to stabilize your spine and provide pain relief. Augmentation is usually recommended when conservative treatment options have failed to provide pain relief.

Jefferson Surgical Interventional Center physicians perform augmentation right here in the Roanoke Valley so you can get relief close to home.

Vertebral Augmentation Procedure

The doctor uses an x-ray to guide the insertion of a needle followed by a balloon into the affected vertebra or vertebras to create a cavity and fills that cavity with bone cement. The bone cement reinforces the vertebra and stabilizes the spine. Most patients who have Vertebral Augmentation experience immediate pain relief.

Vertebral Augmentation Risks

There are some risks to the Vertebral Augmentation procedure, including:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Pain
  • Temporary or permanent nerve damage
  • Allergic reaction

The biggest risk during the procedure is the leakage of the bone cement into the veins around the spine, which can cause respiratory distress.

The Jefferson Surgical Interventional Center in Roanoke Valley, Virginia takes extra precaution to minimize all the risks associated with Vertebral Augmentation, and our patients have experienced excellent post-procedure results.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I need Vertebral Augmentation?
You have a spinal fracture.
How do I prepare for Vertebral Augmentation?

You should not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your procedure.

Tell your doctor if you have had any kidney problems or reactions to x-ray dye or contrast. If so, your doctor may want to prescribe medicine for you to take before your procedure.

Ask your doctor about taking your regular medications prior to your Vertebral Augmentation, especially Coumadin. Your doctor may want to stop your Coumadin for a few days prior to your procedure. Generally, your medications may be taken with a little sip of water. Please bring all medications you are currently taking with you on the day of your exam.

If you are a diabetic, consult your doctor about your diabetes medications.

Arrange for someone to drive you home and stay with you until the next day. You will not be able to drive, leave by yourself, or take a cab home without a companion.

Please notify your physician if there is any possibility that you are pregnant.

On the day of your procedure, wear comfortable clothes and shoes, and leave your jewelry and valuables at home if possible.

What happens before Vertebral Augmentation?

You’ll check in with our receptionist and be asked to complete some paperwork. Please bring your insurance cards and a list of your medications.

A nurse and the interventional radiologist will talk to you about the procedure in detail. They will answer any questions you have and ask you to sign a consent form.

Then you’ll put on a hospital gown and the nurse will start an IV to give you fluids and medications.

You may also need lab or blood work done before the procedure.

Our staff will show your family or companion(s) to our comfortable waiting room for the duration of your appointment.

What happens during the Vertebral Augmentation?

We’ll take you into our procedure room and place you on the x-ray table.

We’ll shave, clean and drape the area, numb you with a local anesthetic, and make a small incision in your back.

Your interventional radiologist will use the x-ray to guide the insertion of catheter into the vertebra. He will then insert a balloon into the catheter, guide it to the fracture and inflate the balloon to move the bone back into a normal position and creating a cavity in the vertebra.

He will then fill the cavity with bone cement that hardens after injection, stabilizing the bone.

What happens after Vertebral Augmentation?

After the procedure is complete, we’ll apply manual pressure to the area for 15-20 minutes or until the bleeding stops. We’ll apply a dressing to the site and take you to the recovery room. We’ll monitor your condition for 2-4 hours until you are ready to be discharged.

The staff will review discharge instructions with you and give you a copy of those instructions to take home.

Your family or companion will then drive you home and stay with you overnight.

The following day, you may resume your normal diet and medication schedule, unless otherwise directed. Ask your physician about exercising or working before you resume your normal routine.

We’ll send a report of your procedure to your primary care physician and his or her office will follow up with a forward care plan.