Vertebroplasty & Kyphoplasty
Vertebroplasty, better termed percutaneous vertebroplasty, is a procedure during which needles are used to inject a special bone cement into a fractured back bone to stop it from fracturing further and to stop it from hurting.
This basically entails placing you under a machine called a fluoroscope which can take live x-rays before and throughout the procedure. Once the fractured bone is identified with the x-ray, the back is cleaned and draped in a sterile fashion. An IV is started which can be used to give some light sedation and pain medication for the procedure. The skin is then numbed with numbing medicine using a very small needle. A larger needle is then placed through the numb skin and using the x-ray, is placed carefully into the fractured bone.
A special bone cement called polymethylmethacrylate is then carefully injected through the needle into the fractured bone. Only a small amount of cement is needed in most cases. The cement quickly hardens and the needles are removed and a small bandage is placed over the needle site. You will lie on your back for about an hour to let the cement harden. After that, you likely will go home to rest.
A variant to this procedure is called kyphoplasty which includes an additional step during the procedure in which a balloon is used to create a cavity for the cement and to try and reduce the fractured bone back to its original shape. Your doctor can determine if this step is indicated or necessary for you.
Side effects of Vertebroplasty & Kyphoplasty Injections are rare and these can be discussed with your doctor prior to having the procedure scheduled. Some patients with have an increase in their pain following the procedure but this usually lasts less than 2-3 days and then the overall pain begins to improve. Some patients receive immediate pain relief after their procedure and are able to resume normal activities within a few days. You will be asked to sign a written consent prior to the procedure. Please make sure you fully understand the risks and benefits of any procedure prior to signing the consent form.
Vertebroplasty & Kyphoplasty can be valuable diagnostic procedures when conservative therapy has failed. Please contact our office if you have additional questions regarding this procedure.
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Side effects of Vertebroplasty/Kyphoplasty
Side effects are rare, but bleeding, infection, increased pain, bowel or bladder dysfunction, paralysis, and death have occurred. These side effects usually occur on patients taking strong anti-coagulants or blood thinners, or those with a high fever or an active infection. Your physician should be notified if you are taking medications such as Coumadin, Plavix, Ticlid, Lovenox, Aggrenox, Insulin, or Metformin. Your physician should also be made aware of any allergies you have, especially if you are allergic to iodine or contrast. Notify your physician immediately if you have concerns about your condition after the procedure.
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