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How is the vertebroplasty procedure performed?

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A vertebroplasty is an outpatient procedure in which bone cement is injected into fractured vertebrae to stabilize the bones, Mayo Clinic says. The patient is awake but sedated during vertebroplasty. Doctors numb part of the back to make a small incision to gain access to the affected vertebrae.

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The procedure takes about an hour per vertebra receiving treatment, Mayo Clinic says. The patient lies on her stomach during the procedure while the doctor guides the needle containing the cement with the help of X-rays. After the surgery, patients must lie flat on their backs for two hours so the cement can harden. Most patients go home the same day.

Vertebroplasty is performed to treat compression fractures, often due to osteoporosis, Mayo Clinic reports. A study conducted at Mayo Clinic found that patients were in much less pain and had better mobility after the procedure. Many patients can return to normal activity afterwards. After treatment, the vertebra is less likely to fracture again.

Candidates for vertebroplasty tend to have severe pain that hasn't responded to other treatment and compression fractures less than six months old, Mayo Clinic states. It is also important that osteoporosis patients can lie on their stomachs for a period of time without fracturing ribs.

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