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Case Reports in Surgery
Volume 2013, Article ID 591432, 5 pages
Case Report

Asymptomatic Bone Cement Pulmonary Embolism after Vertebroplasty: Case Report and Literature Review

Section of General and Thoracic Surgery, University of Palermo, Via Liborio, Giuffrè 5, 90124 Palermo, Italy

Received 18 March 2013; Accepted 15 April 2013

Academic Editors: J. M. Bernal, M. Nikfarjam, and G. Santori

Copyright © 2013 Girolamo Geraci et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Introduction. Acrylic cement pulmonary embolism is a potentially serious complication following vertebroplasty. Case Report. A 70-year-old male patient was treated with percutaneous vertebroplasty for osteoporotic nontraumatic vertebral collapse of L5-S1. Asymptomatic pulmonary cement embolism was detected on routine postoperative chest radiogram and the patient was treated with enoxaparin, amoxicillin, and dexamethasone. At the followup CT scan no further migration of any cement material was reported; and the course was uneventful. Discussion. The frequency of local leakage of bone cement is relatively high (about 80–90%), moreover, the rate of cement leakage into the perivertebral veins (seen in up to 24% of vertebral bodies treated) with consequent pulmonary cement embolism varies from 4.6 to 6.8% (up to 26% in radiologic studies); the risk of embolism is increased with the liquid consistency of the cement and with the treatment of some malignant lesions. Patients may remain asymptomatic and develop no known long-term sequelae. Conclusions. Our ancedotal case illustrates the need for close monitoring of patients undergoing percutaneous vertebroplasty and emphasizes the importance of prompt and correct diagnosis and treatment, even if actually there is no agreement regarding the therapeutic strategy.