Pain Management
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  • This is a relatively new technique in the pain relief clinic for people presenting with back pain from an acute vertebral collapse (Wedge fracture). It involves identifying the affected vertebra, and injecting bone cement (methyl methacrylate polymer) into the centre of the vertebral body. Once set, the cement gives the vertebra extra strength, and can produce relatively rapid pain relief.


Immediate pain relief

Day care procedure

Done under local anaesthesia


causes of an acute vertebral collapse 

  1. Osteoporosis caused by post-menopausal hormonal imbalance, long term steroid medication, kidney failure, or those on long term bed rest,
  2. Vertebral haemangiomas (benign blood vessel tumours),
  3. Secondary cancer deposits .


1.    X-rays

2.    MRI Scans can help differentiate between an osteoporotic collapse, haemangioma, and secondary cancer.


  • The Procedure is performed under intravenous sedation , local anaesthesia, and using X-ray guidance.
  • After confirming the correct vertebra to be treated, a bone biopsy needle is inserted through the skin, passing through one of the vertebral pedicles, and onwards into the front third of the vertebral body. X-ray contrast medium is injected to check that the needle is not in a large vein.
  • Bone cement (methyl methacrylate polymer) is then injected slowly under X-ray fluoroscopy, again checking that the cement is not being injected into a large vein.
  • The cement hardens in about 15 minutes to provide support to the affected vertebra, thereby producing pain relief.


  • Rarely occurring complications include:-
    • Pneumothorax (punctured lung)
    • Fracture of the pedicle
    • Bone cement embolus - cement is carried by large veins through the heart and into the lung
    • Spinal cord compression causing paraplegia
    • Increased back pain
    • Spread of the cement to other soft tissues around the vertebra

Needle track infection