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Vertebroplasty is a pain treatment for vertebral compression fractures that fail to respond to conventional medical therapy (pain medications, physical therapy). Vertebroplasty is a procedure where the Neuro-Radiologist/Interventional Radiologist injects medical bone cement into the fractured vertebra, using X-ray guidance. This stabilizes the collapsed vertebra, prevents further collapse and improves pain. The most common reason for these fractures is osteoporosis. Multiple fractures, if untreated, can cause loss of height and spine curvature.

Kyphoplasty is a treatment, combined with Vertebroplasty, in which orthopedic balloons are used to gently raise the collapsed vertebra in an attempt to return them to the correct position.

Before the procedure is scheduled, your own doctor will send you for imaging to diagnosis the fracture. MRI is desired because the radiologist can identify swelling, age of fracture and if there are any bone fragments near the spinal canal. If you have a metal implant, such as a pacemaker, and MRI cannot be used you will be sent for a nuclear bone scan.

When your procedure is scheduled

  1. Our scheduler will give you a date and time to be at the hospital.
  2. You will be scheduled to come in two hours before the procedure; this is to allow the admitting staff and the nursing staff to get you ready.
  3. Please let the scheduler know if you take Coumadin, Plavix, Insulin or Metformin. You will need specialized instructions.
  4. Please notify us if you’ve had a previous reaction to contrast dye.
  5. The admitting department will call you the night before the procedure to confirm your arrival time.
  6. Please plan to leave any jewelry and valuables at home.
  7. Make sure that you have a ride home and will not be driving yourself.
  8. If you have any questions regarding your procedure you may call us at 425-688-5507.


  1. Do not eat of drink for four hours before your exam.
  2. Please take your normal heart and blood pressure medications with a sip of water. You may also take your pain medications with a sip of water.
  3. You need to be at hospital admitting two hours before you procedure’s scheduled start time. This is located at the large desk at the hospital’s main entrance (across from Stanza’s).
  4. Your will be taken down to your room where you will meet your nurse. You will be asked to change into a patient gown, and then an IV will be started and blood will be drawn for lab tests. The nurse will ask you for your medical history. Bring a list of all the medications you take and when you take them.
  5. The nurse will also ask you about allergies. If you are allergic to radiology/contrast dye please let them know.
  6. If you need pain medication for your back please let the nurse know.
  7. If there is a possibility that you’re pregnant, please let the nurse know. You will be asked to sign a form if you are at a childbearing age (12-57).
  8. Before the procedure, the interventional nurse will meet with you and your family in your room. They will review your procedure with you and answer any questions you might have.


  1. The procedure takes from one to three hours. You will meet the doctor who will go over the consent form and answer any questions you might still have.
  2. You will receive sedation medication during the procedure to help you relax.
  3. You will be positioned on your stomach. Pain medication will be provided if needed. Your face will be placed inside a massage pillow to keep your back properly aligned.
  4. During the procedure the nurse will be monitoring your heart, blood pressure and the oxygen level in your blood.
  5. Once the procedure is over you will be transferred back to your room lying flat on your back.

After the Procedure

  1. You will stay on your back for about an hour. This is to let the cement harden.
  2. Your blood pressure, pulse and pain level will be monitored frequently.
  3. Once you are more awake and sitting up, we will provide you with a meal and fluids of your choice.
  4. Most patients will be discharged about three to five hours after the procedure.
  5. You will be given written instructions and a phone number to call if you have any questions or concerns.
  6. One of the interventional nurses will do a follow-up call the next weekday after your procedure. Write down any questions you might have for them.
  7. To speak with an interventional nurse, please call 425-688-5005. It is best to call between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. You can leave a message on the voicemail and a nurse will return your call as soon as they are able.
  8. If you are on Coumadin and have been told not to take it before your procedure, you need to check with your physician and/or the Anti-Coagulation Clinic for specific instructions.

    If you are an insulin-dependent diabetic, restart your regular dosing when you get home. Check your sugar regularly and if you have a concern, contact your diabetes doctor.
  9. You will have at least two bandages on your back and you may remove them the next day.

Contact Us

If you would like to schedule an imaging procedure, call 425-688-0100. To speak to a Medical Imaging staff member, call 425-688-5564.