Vertebroplasty is a minimally-invasive procedure to manage vertebral compression fractures of the spine mainly due to cancer and osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by a loss of normal bone mass, density, and strength, making bones highly prevalent to fractures. Cancer can also weaken your bones.
When the body of these rectangular vertebras fracture, they are compressed, resulting in pain. The compression fracture can affect multiple vertebras in the spine.However, not everyone with compressed vertebral fracture needs vertebroplasty. It is recommended for patients who do not respond to other treatment options such as braces and painkillers.
The procedure is performed by an interventional radiologist or neuroradiologist. They will inject a cement mixture into the fractured vertebrae, making the bone stronger. Vertebroplasty can improve your physical activity and lower the risk of future fractures. In most cases, you can get immediate relief. Vertebroplasty is carried out in an interventional radiology suite, and you will be given a local anesthetic before the procedure at the site of the incision. However, in some cases, general anesthesia may be needed to make it comfortable for you to lie on the abdomen during the procedure.
Your doctor will also mix a small amount of contrast medium along with the cement to confirm the correct placement of the needle and prevent displacement of bone cement. Vertebroplasty is usually completed within an hour; however, it may take longer if more than one vertebra is fractured. The entire procedure is done through a small hole in the back under fluoroscopic guidance.
After the procedure, you will be advised to lie flat on your back till the cement hardens. After this, you will be slowly raised to a sitting position and assessed for pain, weakness, and numbness of the lower extremities.
You will then be allowed to walk with assistance and later discharged. You may get immediate pain relief, but tenderness at the site of injection may be present.
The procedure should be done within eight weeks of fracture for the highest probability of a successful procedure.
- Improves your functional ability and allows you to return to your daily activities without the need for rehabilitation or physical therapy
- Alleviates pain almost immediately
- Offers the lost mobility
- Only a small incision needed
- Faster recovery
- Lower risk of complications
Vertebroplasty Side Effects
- Embolism due to migration of the cement
- Nerve root irritation