Vertebroplasty

What is vertebroplasty?
Vertebroplasty is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat compression fractures of the vertebrae.  By injecting an acrylic cement mixture into the center of the collapsed bone, vertebroplasty can strengthen and stabilize the fracture rendering it far less painful.  The procedure is usually done on an outpatient basis and requires only local anesthetic.

Who benefits from vertebroplasty?
One of the leading causes of back pain is compression fracture of a vertebra in the spine.  Researchers estimate that at least 25 percent of all women and a somewhat smaller percentage of men, over the age of 65, will suffer one or more vertebral compression fractures due to the natural bone loss of osteoporosis.  Until recently, treatment options for vertebral compression fractures were limited to pain management with strong oral medications, reduced activity, bracing or invasive back surgery, with only mediocre results.  Vertebroplasty offers elderly patients with a proven treatment alternative, without the need for major surgery, and with excellent efficacy in selected cases.

How does vertebroplasty work?
With the patient under a local anesthetic, a needle is inserted into the fractured area of the spine.  Using fluoroscopically-guided imagery, the vertebral cavity is filled with an acrylic cement paste. Shortly after injection, the  material hardens, creating a supportive structure that prevents further collapse and alleviates pain. The procedure often takes less than a half hour and patients are able to return home the same day, regaining mobility within 24 hours and often experiencing immediate reduction or even elimination their pain medication.

Vertebroplasty is one of many procedures performed at PainCare Centers in Somersworth, NH.  Ask your family physician if vertebroplasty might be appropriate for your condition.



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