A vertebroplasty is a minimally-invasive procedure that uses a bone cement injection to stabilize a compression fracture of the spine. Depending on your needs, one or more vertebrae may need treatment.

What You Need To Know About Vertebroplasty

What is Vertebroplasty?

Vertebroplasty helps stabilize in the spine. Over time conditions like osteoporosis can compromise the structural integrity of the spine. These bone loss conditions can cause small and painful compression fractures in the vertebrae.

Reinforcing vertebral cracks with bone cement helps alleviate pain and prevents further bone collapse. As the cement hardens, the vertebrae retain structural integrity and are able to support your spine again.

Vertebroplasty vs. Kyphoplasty

A vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are similar procedures. During a vertebroplasty, a physician directly inserts bone cement into the fractured bone. However, during a kyphoplasty, a doctor inserts a balloon and inflates it to expand the compressed vertebra before inserting bone cement in the opened space.

Putting back pain behind you starts with a visit to a spine physician. Book an appointment with the pain experts at Resurgens Orthopaedics Spine Center to learn more about vertebroplasty.

Why is Vertebroplasty Performed?

A vertoplasty can help alleviate pain for a patient with a fractured vertebra that results in spinal pain. The procedure will alleviate the compression fracture, relieve pain, and increase mobility.

How to Prepare for Vertebroplasty

To prepare for vertebroplasty, patients should adhere to the following recommendations:

  • Do not consume food or beverages within six hours before surgery.

  • Consult with your physician to learn about possible medications you may have to refrain from taking before surgery.

  • Schedule a ride after surgery. Due to anesthesia and pain medication required for surgery, it is unsafe to drive home.

  • Give your physician a copy of your advance care plan before surgery. This document discloses your health care wishes.

What Happens During Vertebroplasty?

To begin surgery, the patient lies face down. The doctor will administer anesthesia to relax the patient.

The physician inserts a needle through the skin of your back. An x-ray device called a "fluoroscope" shows a video image of the needle's position. This helps the physician guide the needle into the body of your collapsed vertebra.

When the needle is in place, the physician injects the bone cement. The cement fills the fractured spaces within the vertebra. A second injection may be needed to completely fill the bone.

During the next hour, the cement will harden. It will strengthen and stabilize your spine. During the next hour, the cement will harden. It will strengthen and stabilize your spine. When the vertebroplasty procedure is complete, the doctor will remove the needle. Patients will continue to lie on their back as the cement hardens. Your physician will give you instructions to aid your recovery.

Are there Risks Associated with Vertebroplasty?

Vertebroplasty is a highly successful surgical procedure. Complications are often rare and minor (1-3% of patients). Potential risks include:

  • Hemorrhaging or blood loss

  • Fever or Infection

  • Fractures to bones near the vertebra

  • Cement leaking from outside the compressed vertebra. Potential leakage could affect nerve roots near the spinal cord, resulting in pain, numbness, or weakness.

  • Pain issues continue, and the procedure fails to reduce the severity of chronic symptoms

  • Paralysis. Since a physician performs a vertebroplasty near the spinal cord and other nerves, an error in the needle injection site could result in limb paralysis

Post Vertebroplasty & Recovery

Vertebroplasties help most patients gain immediate pain relief within 48 hours of surgery. Patients are typically able to resume daily activities within 24 hours after surgery. However, patients should take it easy for several days once they come home from the hospital. Patients may feel sore near the puncture site. Place an ice pack to help aid tender muscles.

Your physician will assess your pain levels, test for complications, and prescribe a suitable pain medication for recovery. These medications can be habit-forming, so be careful with your dosage.

Some patients may require a back brace, but most people can return to strenuous physical activities after six weeks. Schedule a follow-up visit with your physician a couple of weeks after surgery.

Getting relief from back pain starts with a visit to the experts at Resurgens Orthopaedics Spine Center. Book your appointment now!

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