Kenneth W. Chin (M.D., F.A.C.R.) gives expert video advice on: What can I expect after vertebroplasty?; What are the benefits of vertebroplasty?; What are the limitations of vertebroplasty? and more...
What is 'vertebroplasty'?
Vertebroplasty is a procedure used to treat fractures of the vertebral bodies, portions of the spinal column. When there are fractures of this sort, then cement can be placed into the vertebral body in order to support it and decrease further fracturing or pain.
What is vertebroplasty used for?
Vertebroplasty is a procedure that is used on patients who have a fracture of the spine that's causing intractable pain. The vertebroplasty can be very, very effective in getting rid of the pain very, very quickly, with only one or two small incisions in the skin.
What can I expect during vertebroplasty?
During your vertebroplasty procedure, you will be given some medication to make you sleepy, we may not put you completely to sleep. We will be giving you a considerable amount of local anesthetic in the portion of the spine that we're going to be putting the cement into. You will feel a little bit of burning sensation when we initially place the local anesthetic into the skin, you may also feel a little bit of discomfort when we actually enter the bone, however, that too is anesthetized. Other than that, the amount of discomfort you should feel should be minimal.
What can I expect after vertebroplasty?
After the vertebroplasty procedure you can expect to have some achiness in the back where the procedure was performed. The pain that you have initially that brought you in for the procedure, if the vertebroplasty is successful, should actually disappear very quickly afterwards or within two hours.
How does vertebroplasty work?
The vertebroplasty works on the mechanism of plastic cement material going into interstices of the fracture site of the spine or in the interstices of the surrounding bone. This supports the bone so that there's less movement and with less movement or no movement around the fracture site, then the pain goes away on, largely, a mechanical basis.
What is the cement used in vertebroplasty?
The cement that is used for vertebroplasty is what we consider a plastic cement. They come in a variety of different formulations, but basically they are methyl methacrylate cement.
What are the benefits of vertebroplasty?
The benefits of vertebroplasty are that through a minimally invasive procedure, patients who have pain that can't be treated with medications can be treated very quickly with a procedure that may only take one hour.