Vertebroplasty involves injecting bone cement, typically polymethylmethacrylate, into the vertebral body (the solid part of the vertebra), using local anaesthetic and an analgesic.

Vertebroplasty aims to relieve pain in people with painful fractures and to strengthen the bone to prevent future fractures.

Figure 1: Bilateral Vertebroplasty procedure

Clinical benefits1

  • Vertebroplasty is the only vertebral augmentation procedure that has been assessed versus a sham-controlled procedure in 2 trials. Both study results showed that there was no significant difference on pain score, quality of life score and functional score. Recently the NICE has invalidated the sham-controlled (Local anaesthesia) as an appropriate comparator and dismissed the trial results from their assessment.
  • In studies assessing the efficacy of Vertebroplasty versus optimal pain management, Vertebroplasty has shown to:
    • Improve pain in the short and medium term.
    • Mixed outcome on quality of life score.
    • Significant improvement in functional score.
  1. NICE Final appraisal determination “Percutaneous vertebroplasty and percutaneous balloon kyphoplasty for treating osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures “, available online at, access on the 12nd July 2013.