Patient Information Resources

Alpine Physical Therapy
Three Locations
In North, South, and Downtown Missoula
Missoula, MT 59804
Ph: 406-251-2323
Fax: 406-251-2999

Child Orthopedics
Pain Management
Spine - Cervical
Spine - General
Spine - Lumbar
Spine - Thoracic

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My father just had a vertebroplasty for a vertebral fracture. Because he's so osteoporotic, much of the glue leaked out of the bone. Will this cause even more problems for him?

Vertebroplasty is the injection of a cement-like substance into the fractured vertebral bone. The goal is to strengthen the bone and reduce pain for the patient. With osteoporotic or brittle bones, the cement can leak out.

Problems can occur when this happens. The first problem is that the surgery may be considered a failure. If the cement doesn't give at least a partial repair of the fracture, then the patient may continue to suffer from the pain.

Doctors are aware of these problems and have many methods they use to keep it from happening. It's not a problem if the cement leaks into the disc area. It's also not a problem if the cement leaks out of the front or side of the bone.

The real issue is when the cement leaks into the epidural space. This is the area behind the bone next to the spinal cord. Cement in this space can harden and then put pressure on the spinal cord or spinal nerves exiting the area.

Sometimes the body just absorbs or breaks down the extra cement and no further problems occur. For now it may be a wait-and-see situation. Follow-up visits with the doctor are important. Encourage your father to keep all of his appointments with the doctor no matter how he's feeling.


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