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Interv Neuroradiol. 2012 Sep;18(3):358-62. Epub 2012 Sep 10.

Cement embolization of a segmental artery after percutaneous vertebroplasty: a potentially catastrophic vascular complication.

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  • 1Department of Neurosurgery, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.


Serious complications related to percutaneous vertebral augmentation procedures, vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty, are rare and most often result from local cement leakage or venous embolization. We describe an adult patient who underwent multi-level, thoracic percutaneous vertebral augmentation procedures for painful osteoporotic compression fractures. The patient's percutaneous vertebroplasty performed at the T9 level was complicated by the asymptomatic, direct embolization of the right T9 segmental artery with penetration of cement into the radicular artery beneath the pedicle. We review the literature regarding the unusual occurrence of direct arterial cement embolization during vertebral augmentation procedures, discuss possible pathomechanisms, and alert clinicians to this potentially catastrophic vascular complication.

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