Vertebroplasty: One Patient’s Story of How It Changed His Life

osteoporosis patient consultation with doctor

Are you suffering from agonizing pain that is interfering with your quality of life? Are you in search of a way to relieve your pain due to osteoporosis?

Read one man’s story of how he went from bed-ridden to enjoying life again with the pain-relieving procedure called vertebroplasty.

Meet Norman Walsh

Norman, a local resident of Prescott Valley, used to experience unbearable pain, so much so it caused immobility.

non-surgical back decompressions vertebroplasty

“The pain had been excruciating…a ten or eleven every time I tried to turn over or move. It was awful,” was how Norman explained his discomfort before undergoing a vertebroplasty procedure.

What is Vertebroplasty and How Does it Help with Back Pain?

If you are someone who suffers from debilitating back pain just like Norman, then vertebroplasty may be just what you need to get relief.

Vertebroplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that has been very successful at eliminating patients’ pain due to osteoporosis.

If you have osteoporosis, you most likely know that you are at an increased risk of easily fractured bones, including the vertebrae in your back. These are known as vertebral compression fractures.

When a vertebra gets damaged or fractured, the bone becomes compressed and inflamed. These fractures may involve the collapse of one or multiple spinal vertebrae which may result in osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a disease wherein normal bones lose density, mass, and strength, and become porous and vulnerable to breakage.

Certain types of cancers also increase your risk for this injury, which can lead to collapsed vertebrae and extreme pain.

As a result, your levels of activity can be severely decreased due to immobility which creates many other complications.

Vertebroplasty And Kyphoplasty For Vertebral Compression Fracture

Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are both nonsurgical pain medications for painful vertebral compression fractures (VCF) involving the vertebral body of the spinal column.

During a vertebroplasty procedure, the patient is sedated while awake. Doctors usually use X-ray guidance for imaging (fluoroscopy) to inject a cement mixture into the fractured bone through a hollow needle. Kyphoplasty, on the other hand, is done under general anesthesia in an operating table. The doctor will create a cavity by inserting a balloon into the fractured bone through the hollow needle. The cement will then be injected into the cavity after removing the balloon

The Debilitating Effects of a Fractured Spine

Let’s Hear from the Specialist

David Lloyd, M.D., is a partner with Prescott Radiologists and a board-certified, fellowship-trained Neuroradiologist who specializes in back pain-relieving procedures. 

He is also the Director of the Percutaneous Spine Procedure Program at Vascular and Interventional Specialists of Prescott

 “Many patients must stay chairbound or bedridden for the pain to be bearable…” 

Dr. Lloyd explains, “The pain from vertebral compression fractures is usually so severe that most patients are severely restricted in their mobility. 

Hobbies and basic chores are difficult or impossible to perform. Patients frequently have a hard time even dressing, and very active, otherwise healthy patients, must begin using a walker or wheelchair.” 

The Impact

“Since most compression fractures take several months to fully heal, such immobility can lead to depression, blood clots, and other adverse health outcomes, in addition to increasing stress among loved ones and caregivers,” states Dr. Lloyd.

Does this sound like you or someone you know? Keep reading because…

There’s Hope for those with Osteoporosis

The statistics are alarming for the number of Americans who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis – about 10 million

If you are within the 44 million Americans who have been told by your doctor that you have low bone density, that means you are also at a higher risk of osteoporosis.

Dr. Lloyd further explains that if you have osteoporosis that even minimal trauma could cause a fractured vertebra in the spine affecting your spinal cord.

This leads to extreme pain and could take months to heal.

When other conservative medical therapies (such as pain medicine and rest) fail to help a patient, vertebroplasty can be a good option.

Percutaneous vertebroplasty is a procedure that a radiologist will perform using image guidance to locate the affected area of the spinal cord. At this site, medical-grade bone cement is injected into the collapsed vertebra to stabilize it. 

That’s right, we said bone cement!

Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are two procedures that use bone cement to relieve pain due to a bone fracture in the spine. 

The bone cement is a compound of dry powder and a liquid. When they are mixed together, a clay-like consistency forms. The cement hardens and changes consistency quickly, so it must be injected on the fracture with perfect timing.

Once applied, the cement can begin to harden within minutes but minimal movement or bed rest is typically recommended for the first 24 hours. 

This procedure is known as a vertebral cement augmentation (VCA)

The Vertebral Cement Augmentation Explained

After traditional pain-relieving therapies have failed to work, you will be evaluated to see if the VCA option for either vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty is right for you. 

The needle injects medical-grade bone cement into the fractured vertebra to relieve pressure and stress on the spine.

VCA is also used in the well-known kyphoplasty procedure.

Kyphoplasty uses an inflatable balloon inserted into the bone of the spine. It creates a cavity where bone cement is injected to relieve pain, restore height, and reduce spine curvature.

Patients can experience a significant reduction in their pain level. Some have experienced total pain relief within 24 hours or a couple of days.

What are the Success Rates of Vertebroplasty? 

“The beautiful thing about vertebroplasty is its safety, effectiveness, and quick results.

Vertebroplasty provides almost immediate pain relief in over 90% of patients. 

The majority of patients will notice complete pain relief the same day, while the rest will heal completely within the first couple of days after treatment. 

The procedure is also minimally invasive, meaning the patient does not need general anesthesia and can return home the same day as the procedure,” said Dr. Lloyd.

Get Treatment Right Away for Faster, More Effective Results

Dr. Lloyd expounds that a “prompt evaluation by an interventional radiologist will maximize a successful result. After a certain amount of time has elapsed, the harder it can be to treat the fracture and relieve pain.

By quickly relieving the pain, patients quickly resume their normal, baseline activity level.”

Norman Walsh agrees. “I woke up completely pain-free. It was like a miracle.” 

Only a few weeks after the procedure, Mr. Walsh said he was going out to eat, going to church, and other things he wasn’t able to do for months.

This Might Be the Answer You’ve Been Waiting For!

If you have experienced a compression fracture, or if your doctor feels you may benefit from other pain-relieving back procedures, we would love to hear from you!

Visit us at, or call 928.771.8477 for more information.

Author Profile

Vascular & Interventional Specialists of Prescott was formed in 2010 by a group of subspecialty radiologists that perform numerous minimally-invasive, low-risk procedures using the tools of our trade for guidance—x-ray, ultrasound, CT scan, and MRI. The team’s goal is to educate patients and medical communities, while also providing safe and compassionate health care, with rapid recovery times and low risk of complications.