Back pain is a common ailment that affects millions of people each year. In some cases, back pain can be the result of a compression fracture. A compression fracture is a break in one or more of the vertebrae in your spine. This can occur from a fall, car accident, or any other trauma to your back. If you are experiencing severe back pain and have been told by your doctor that you may have a compression fracture, you may be wondering if you need surgery. One possible surgical treatment for compression fractures is called vertebroplasty. In this blog post, we will explain what vertebroplasty is and when it may be necessary.
What are compression fractures?
To understand why a vertebroplasty may be necessary, let’s take a closer look at compression fractures. Compression fractures most commonly occur in the vertebrae in your upper back (thoracic spine) and are due to osteoporosis. These fractures can cause the vertebrae to collapse and decrease about 15-20% in height, which can lead to severe pain. In some cases, the pain may be so severe that it limits your ability to walk or even stand. Compression fractures can also cause the spine to become more curved, which can lead to problems with balance and mobility.
What is vertebroplasty?
Vertebroplasty is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that is used to treat compression fractures of the spine. The goal of this procedure is to relieve pain and stabilize the vertebrae. This is done by injecting bone cement into the fractured vertebra. The bone cement helps to support the vertebrae and prevent further collapse. Vertebroplasty can be performed as an outpatient procedure, which means you will not need to stay in the hospital overnight.
Vertebroplasty is usually recommended for patients who are experiencing severe pain from a compression fracture. In some cases, the pain may not improve with conservative treatment, such as rest, ice, and pain medication. If your doctor has determined that you have a compression fracture and you are still experiencing severe pain after several weeks of conservative treatment, vertebroplasty may be an option for you.
What are the steps of vertebroplasty?
- Once you are lying face down, the first step of vertebroplasty is to administer a local anesthesia to numb the area around the fracture. Light sedation will also be used to keep you calm, but responsive during the procedure.
- Next, a small incision will be made in your back so that a needle can be inserted. A fluoroscopy will be used to guide the needle into the fractured vertebra.
- Once the needle is in place, bone cement will be injected into the vertebra. The bone cement hardens quickly (within 10 minutes), which helps to support the vertebrae and relieve pain.
- The needle will be removed and a bandage will be placed over the skin puncture.
- After the procedure is complete, you will be taken to a recovery room where you will be monitored for any complications. You will then be able to go home the same day.
In this blog post, we have discussed vertebroplasty, a minimally invasive surgical procedure used to treat compression fractures of the spine. This procedure is usually recommended for patients who are experiencing severe pain from a compression fracture and have not seen improvement with conservative treatment. If you think you may be a candidate for vertebroplasty, talk to your doctor to see if this procedure is right for you.