Percutaneous vertebroplasty: state of the art

Radiographics. 1998 Mar-Apr;18(2):311-20; discussion 320-3. doi: 10.1148/radiographics.18.2.9536480.


Vertebroplasty is an effective new radiologic procedure consisting of the percutaneous injection of a biomaterial, usually methyl methacrylate, into a lesion of a vertebral body. This technique allows marked or complete pain relief and bone strengthening in most cases. The principal indications for vertebroplasty are osteolytic metastasis and myeloma, painful or aggressive hemangioma, and osteoporotic vertebral collapse with debilitating pain that persists despite correct medical treatment. Radiography and computed tomography must be performed in the days preceding vertebroplasty to assess the extent of vertebral collapse, the location and extent of the lytic process, the visibility and degree of involvement of the pedicles, the presence of cortical destruction or fracture, and the presence of epidural or foraminal stenosis caused by tumor extension or bone fragment retropulsion. Leakage of methyl methacrylate during vertebroplasty may cause compression of adjacent structures and necessitate emergency decompressive surgery; thus, the procedure should be performed only in a surgical center. The decision to perform vertebroplasty should be made by a multidisciplinary team because the choice between vertebroplasty, surgery, radiation therapy, medical treatment, or a combination thereof depends on a number of factors. Radiologists need to be aware of the various indications for vertebroplasty and of potential future developments and applications of the procedure.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Hemangioma / therapy
  • Humans
  • Injections / adverse effects
  • Methylmethacrylate
  • Methylmethacrylates / administration & dosage*
  • Methylmethacrylates / adverse effects
  • Osteoporosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Osteoporosis / therapy
  • Radiography, Interventional
  • Spinal Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Spinal Diseases / therapy*
  • Spinal Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Spinal Neoplasms / secondary
  • Spinal Neoplasms / therapy
  • Spine


  • Methylmethacrylates
  • Methylmethacrylate