Vertebroplasty is a minimally invasive procedure for the treatment of painful vertebral compression fractures (VCF), which are commonly caused by osteoporosis in elderly patients, may be due to chronic steroid therapy, spine metastases (spread from cancer) or vertebral hemangiomas.
During vertebral fractures, normal rectangular shape of the bone reduced due to compression which causes pain and patient may unable to sit or stand.
This compression fracture may occur in one or more vertebrae in the spinal column due to osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a slow-progressing disease that causes loss of normal bone density, mass and strength, by which bones are increasingly becoming porous, and vulnerable to break. Vertebrae may also become weakened by cancer
The goal of vertebroplasty is conferring strength and stability to a vertebra.
MRI and CT scan gives better visualization to decide the level and extent of fracture than X-ray.
Almost one fourth of women over age of 50 are affected by osteoporotic bone fractures. The risk of developing compression fracture increases with age. In women of 80 to 85 years of age, up to 40% suffer osteoporotic bone fracture.
Conservative treatment starts with pain medication and bed rest with bracing. Usually by 4 to 6 weeks pain subsides. But bed rest accelerates bone loss and increase the risks of other blood circulation problems (deep venous thromboses). On top due to more bed rest muscles become weak, which may cause more pain. That’s why some studies say that vertebral compression fracture should be treated more aggressively.
In vertebroplasty procedure, Pain Physicians inject a cement mixture into the fractured bone through a hollow needle in operation theatre under X-ray guidance under local anesthesia. Once cement gets hardened, the patient is free to leave the hospital and can go home on the same day. If the patient needs further observation after the procedure, a short stay in the hospital may be recommended.
For the first 24 hours after vertebroplasty procedure, bed-rest is usually recommended. Activities can be increased gradually. There may be some pain, soreness at the puncture site which gets relieved with an ice pack and pain medications.