About Vertebroplasty

Vertebroplasty was first performed in France in 1984 to treat compression fractures caused by bone cancer or bone metastasis, and later to treat compression fractures caused by osteoporosis. Percutaneous vertebroplasty was introduced in the United States in 1994 and has become widely available since 1997 as a treatment for pain associated with compression fractures due to osteoporosis. The procedure has been shown to provide continued pain relief for osteoporotic compression fractures. A 1998 study by Dr. Deramond and colleagues reported on 80 patients with rapid and complete pain relief in more than 90% of osteoporotic cases. In our local series, we achieved similar results. In Mount Elizabeth Hospital, we have been performing this procedure regularly since 2001. The follow-up in this patient population ranged from one month to ten years with evidence of prolonged pain relief.

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Vertebroplasty is a procedure using X-ray imaging and conscious sedation. The interventional radiologist inserts a needle through a nick in the skin in the back, directing it under fluoroscopy (continuous, moving X-ray imaging) into the fractured vertebra. The physician then injects the medical—grade bone cement into the vertebra. The cement hardens within 15 minutes and stabilizes the fracture, like an internal cast.


  • Cement leakage into the spinal canal with resultant nerve injury.
  • Cement leakage into the blood stream with resultant
  • cement embolization to the lungs.
  • Infection.
  • Bleeding from the needle insertion.
  • Allergy to the cement.

These risks are generally very low and overall risk for the procedure is estimated at less than 2%.

There is also a risk of fracture of the adjacent vertebra, but this is not higher than the risk of a second fracture resulting from osteoporosis.


Radiology Department,
Gleneagles Hospital
6A Napier Road
Singapore 258500
Tel: (65) 6470 5730/1
Fax: (65) 6470 5749

Radiology Department,
Mount Elizabeth Hospital
3 Mount Elizabeth, Level 2
Singapore 228510
Tel: (65) 6731 2100
Fax: (65) 6732 3368

Department of Radiology & Nuclear Medicine,
Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital
38 Irrawaddy Road, Level 2,
Singapore 329563
Tel: (65) 6933 1188
Fax: (65) 6933 0526