In many cases, vertebral fractures can be treated through conservative methods such as bed rest, a back brace or pain medication. However, patients with osteoporosis or whose fractures have caused severe, long-term pain may benefit from a minimally invasive procedure such as vertebroplasty to relieve symptoms. This procedure is also recommended for patients who are too weak to undergo spinal surgery, or have a malignant tumor within the spine that has caused vertebral damage. Vertebroplasty is most effective when performed on fractures that are less than six months old.
By utilizing this technique, there was a single delayed pneumothorax that occurred because of deviation from the accepted technique. No other major complications occurred (which the authors defined as death, neurovascular injury, pneumothorax, and infection). Inadvertent puncture of the dura did not occur. Minor complications included vasovagal response and transient pain during the administration of injectate, which were resolved by the termination of the procedure. The ease of identifying the ribs fluoroscopically and utilizing the rib as a conduit into the foramen provided an advantage in patients with osteopenia, severe osteoarthritis, and scoliosis compared with previously described techniques.