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Pain Management Procedures

Percutaneous Vertebroplasty

Overview
Vertebroplasty is a procedure that helps relieve pain associated with compression fractures of the vertebral body. Vertebral bodies are the thick blocks of bone located at the front of each spinal vertebra. Osteoporosis is a disease that attacks the body’s bones and commonly results in weakening of the spine, making it brittle. Osteoporosis is a primary cause of compression fractures.

The term “percutaneous” means performed through the skin. “Plasty” means to mold or form. Thus, vertebroplasty helps mold the vertebra by injecting a fluid into the bone through the skin with a needle.

This procedure can also be helpful in treating patients who suffer from severe collapse of broken vertebrae or wedging. Wedging is a condition where vertebral fractures cause more collapse in the front part of the spine as opposed to the back, causing the spine to tilt forward. Kyphoplasty helps correct the wedging and may help return the spine to its normal alignment. This can also help prevent severe spine deformity. In patients who have a history of multiple fractures and wedging, kyphoplasty may help prevent further deformity.

Procedure

  • Vertebroplasty is an outpatient procedure performed in our state of the art procedure rooms.
  • You will be connected to monitoring equipment (EKG monitor, blood pressure cuff, and a blood oxygen monitoring device) and positioned on your stomach.
  • Your health care provider will start an intravenous line and administer some medication to help you relax.
  • Your back will be cleansed with antiseptic solution and the physician will inject some numbing medication deep into your skin and tissue.
  • A special bone needle is inserted into the vertebral body.
  • During the procedure, the physician will use and x-ray machine (fluoroscope) connected to a TV monitor and x-rays may be taken at this time.
  • The physician will inject radio-opaque dye (contrast solution) which makes the needle visible on the fluoroscope monitor.
  • The physician will use fluoroscopic guidance to verify proper placement of the needle.
  • After ensuring the needle is properly placed, the physician will inject the cement mixture.
  • In this case, the physician injects a bone-cement mixture of polymethyl-methacrylate (the same cement used in joint replacement surgery), barium or tantalum powder (this makes the cement visible on x-ray), an antibiotic, and a solvent into the vertebral body.
  • During this time, you will not feel pain, but you may feel some pressure. You will continue to lie on your stomach for 2 to 3 hours after the procedure to ensure the cement sets properly.

How does it Work?
Vertebroplasty uses a bone-cement mixture of polymethyl-methacrylate (the same cement used in joint replacement surgery). This cement will harden, strengthen and stabilize the vertebrae and prevent its further collapse. In addition to strengthening the fractured vertebrae, vertebroplasty may provide some pain relief and strengthen the other weakened, not yet fractured vertebrae, thus preventing future problems.

After the Procedure
You may experience some weakness and/or numbness for a few hours after the procedure. You will be unable to drive for the remainder of the day following your vertebroplasty. It is best to have someone else drive you home and accompany you to your home. This person should also be available to you should you require assistance at any time after your procedure.

For a better understanding of interventional pain treatment services, contact the healthcare professionals at Minimally Invasive Pain Institute.  They can help customize a treatment for you and your acute or chronic pain condition. To find out if you are a good candidate, or for more information on this and other pain treatment services, read on or contact our pain management center.  Together, we’ll help you find the relief you need for the quality of life you deserve.