Vertebroplasty is a minimally invasive procedure designed to treat spinal compression resulting from injuries or osteoporosis, typically causing a compression fracture. During the procedure, a cement mixture is injected into the fractured bone, often using imaging guidance to ensure pinpoint accuracy. Swift treatment of compression fractures is crucial to reduce pain and optimize outcomes for patients.

Common Conditions Treated by Vertebroplasty

Common conditions treated by vertebroplasty include:

  • Spine trauma
  • Metastatic tumor
  • Osteoporosis
  • Spinal infection

Vertebroplasty Procedure

Vertebroplasty is a procedure where a bone cement solution is injected into the affected area of the spine to stabilize the fracture. The injection is guided by X-rays to ensure precise placement. The procedure is carried out on an outpatient basis with the patient under sedation, and a local anesthetic is administered to manage pain. After the injection, the patient must remain still until the cement hardens, usually for about 2 hours. Most patients can return home soon after the procedure. A similar procedure, kyphoplasty, involves inserting a balloon into the fractured bone to restore its original shape before injecting the cement. Both procedures are effective in repairing the fracture and restoring mobility.

Recovery From Vertebroplasty

Following a vertebroplasty procedure, many patients will experience immediate pain relief and can often resume their normal activities after a day of rest. However, few patients may observe a gradual reduction in pain. They may even experience tenderness or discomfort at the injection site. The symptoms may continue to occur for up to 2 weeks. Other options for relieving symptoms include over-the-counter pain medications and ice pack application. Patients can go home on the same day of the procedure. It is advised to increase activity levels gradually. They should also avoid heavy lifting and other strenuous activities for a minimum of 6 weeks after the treatment.

Once the patients undergoing vertebroplasty, they observe significant improvement in their physical function. This helps remove the need for physical therapy or rehabilitation. This improvement in function can also have additional benefits, such as increasing mobility and activity levels, which can help to counter the effects of osteoporosis and decrease the risk of future complications.

Risks and Complications

As with any surgical procedure, there are potential risks associated with thoracic vertebroplasty. General complications may include bleeding, infection, blood clots, and reactions to anesthesia. However, specific complications that may arise after thoracic vertebroplasty include the leakage of bone cement into surrounding soft tissues or veins and potential damage to the spinal cord or spinal nerves, which could result in numbness or paralysis.

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