Approximately 700,000 vertebral, or spine bone fractures occur each year, usually in women over the age of 60. Vertebroplasty is one method used to treat the pain caused by these fractures. It is an image-guided and minimally invasive outpatient procedure. Vertebroplasty can increase the patient’s functional abilities, allow a return to the previous level of activity, and prevent further vertebral collapse. It is usually successful at alleviating the pain caused by a compression fracture.
Location of Vertebroplasty
Vertebroplasty procedures are performed in the lower thoracic, lumbar and sacral regions.
During the Vertebroplasty procedure you will be lying on your abdomen with a pillow under the abdomen or chest, depending on the vertebra that is fractured. This is used to support the area for the procedure. A pillow will be placed under your lower legs for comfort.
Your back will be cleansed and sterile drape will be placed over you. Your vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen levels) will be monitored frequently during the procedure and recovery.
Once everything is ready the doctor will come in, numb the skin and bone to enable placement of the needles in the vertebral body, using x-ray guidance. After the needle placement is verified then the bone cement will be injected into the fractured vertebra.
Complications are rare but can include infection, bleeding, nerve damage and getting the bone cement in the wrong place. You will be given discharge instruction that include what to look for and when to notify the doctor or nurse of possible complications
Vertebroplasty procedures are minimally invasive and nonsurgical. The procedure is done on an outpatient basis using conscious sedation.
Conscious sedation involves giving pain and sedation medications intravenously to help control pain and anxiety.
You will not be able to shower or bathe for 48 hours, while the dressings are in place. This allows the small incisions to heal and decreases chance of infections in the needle insertion sites.