Category: Minimally Invasive Surgery, Spinal Cord Injury | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: October 8, 2014
There are many conditions and injuries that can lead to a fracture of the spine including osteoarthritis, and blunt force trauma. In these cases, a vertebroplasty may be used to heal the fracture. In this blog we are going to discuss the vertebroplasty surgical procedure, what it entails, and when it is useful.
What is a Vertebroplasty?
A vertebroplasy is a minimally invasive surgery often used to stabilize the spine after vertebrae have been fractured.
Vertebroplasties are typically performed under local anesthesia (meaning the area of incision is numbed, but the patient is not fully under). During the procedure, the spine surgeon will make a small incision in the in the patient’s back near the fractured vertebra. Then a small needle is guided into the broken vertebra, and an acrylic substance is injected into the cracked areas of the fractured bone. This stabilizes the vertebra by forming an internal cast. The entire procedure takes roughly an hour and is usually performed on an outpatient basis (in other words, the patient can go home the same day of the procedure).
After the Procedure
Following the procedure, it is recommended that the patient remain in bed for at least 24 hours. Pain medications will be prescribed to relieve any pain from the incision area.
Vertebroplasy surgeries are quite common in patients who fracture their spine. The procedure has a very low risk of complications and a very high success rate.
When are Vertebroplasties Helpful?
Mild fractures of the spine are often treated initially with conservative options. These include pain medications, bracing, and rest as the body heals itself. However, these treatments often do not work to reduce back pain in the long-term. When these non-surgical options fail, a vertebroplasty is generally the next course of treatment. If you’re struggling with pain from a fractured spine, contact a spine specialist right away to discuss your options for treatment.