Vertebroplasty for Spine Pain
What is vertebroplasty?
Vertebroplasty is a minimally invasive treatment option designed to help reduce or eliminate pain caused by collapsed vertebra. With this procedure, low viscosity cement is injected directly into the collapsed vertebral body under high pressure, with the goal of stabilizing the fracture and relieving the associated pain (caused by spinal bones rubbing together). Vertebroplasty can also help prevent further collapse of the vertebra and thus helps prevent further deformity (such as spine curvature and/or loss of height).
How is the procedure done?
The patient is treated with local anesthesia and light sedation. A biopsy needle is then guided into the fractured vertebra under x-ray guidance through a small puncture in the patient's skin. Specially formulated acrylic bone cement is then injected under pressure directly into the fractured vertebra, filling the spaces within the bone -- with the goal of creating a type of internal cast (a cast within the vertebra) to stabilize the vertebral bone. The needle is removed and the cement hardens quickly (about 10 minutes), solidifying the fragments of the fractured vertebra and stabilizing the bone.
How long does the procedure take?
About 1 hour.
Is the procedure safe?
Vertebroplasty is very safe. The bone cement used to secure the broken bone is safe. Patients with tumors on the spine may be at slightly higher risk of complications. You should always discuss the risks of any procedure with your doctor.
How do I know if vertebroplasty is right for me?
If you have significant back pain caused by a broken bone in your back that is not better after one to two weeks of bed rest and pain control medicine, you may need vertebroplasty. Newer fractures tend to respond better than older fractures; however, some older fractures can be treated successfully. The procedure does not help with chronic back pain or herniated discs.