Service Overview

What is vertebroplasty?

Vertebroplasty is a pain treatment offered at California Imaging Institute for compression fractures of the spinal column that fail to respond to conventional medical therapy, such as minimal or no pain relief with analgesics or narcotic doses that are intolerable.

Vertebroplasty stabilizes the collapsed vertebra with the injection of medical-grade bone cement into the spine. This improves pain, and can prevent further collapse of the vertebra, thereby preventing the height loss and spine curvature commonly seen as a result of osteoporosis.

Vertebroplasty dramatically improves back pain within hours of the procedure, provides long-term pain relief and has a low complication rate as demonstrated in multiple studies.

It is very important for someone with persistent spinal pain lasting more than three months to consult an Interventional Radiologist. People who require constant pain relief with narcotics should seek help immediately.

What causes compression fractures?

Osteoporosis is the predominant cause of compression fractures of the spine. Osteoporosis is called a “silent disease,” because bone loss occurs without symptoms. People may not know why they have osteoporosis until their bones become so weak that a simple strain, twist of the body, bump or fall causes a bone fracture. Fractures may occur in the hip, wrist, ribs or elsewhere, but the most common site of fracture is in the vertebrae, the bones that make up the spinal column.

Who is at risk?

Factors that increase the likelihood of developing osteoporosis include:

  • Being female
  • Being thin or having a small frame
  • Advanced age
  • A family history of osteoporosis
  • Being postmenopausal
  • Abnormal absence of menstrual periods
  • Anorexia or bulimia
  • A diet low in calcium
  • Long-term use of medications such as cortico-steroids or anticonvulsants
  • Lack of exercise
  • Smoking
  • Excessive use of alcohol

For more information please call California Imaging Institute at 559.325.5800.

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Medication Instructions for Vertebroplasty

  • Most people can continue to take their prescribed medications.
  • If you are a diabetic and take insulin, ask your doctor about modifying your insulin dose for the day of your procedure. If you are taking the oral anti-diabetic medicine Glucophage (Metformin), Plavix, or Lovenox, you may need to discontinue use for up to 48 hours following the procedure. Consult with your doctor about blood sugar control during this period.
  • If you take a blood thinner such as Aspirin, Coumadin, Plavix, or Lovenox, you must tell your doctor so that it can be stopped. If you do not know if your medications are blood thinners, please consult your physician at least one week prior to your exam.
  • Please bring a list of your current medications and dosages on the day of your exam.


Do not eat or drink after midnight on the night before your procedure.  Do not smoke for at least 24 hours prior to your angiogram.

Allergic reactions

If you are allergic to contrast (X-Ray dye) or iodine, let your doctor know as soon as possible. If possible, let the interventional radiologist know about your allergy a few days before your angiogram.