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Vertebroplasty is a minimally invasive procedure to stabilize the compression fractures in the spine to provide relief from the pain caused by spinal fractures. Bone cement is injected into the cracked or broken vertebrae due to osteoporosis. The cement hardens and stabilizes the fracture to support the spine of the patient. Vertebraplasty can relieve pain and increase mobility of the patient suffering from spinal fractures.

Some other benefits as compared to the traditional spine surgery are:

• Increased functional ability of patient

• Immediate significant relief

• Improved mobility

• Safe and effective

• Less scarring

Doctor may evaluate the condition of the patient using diagnostic imaging tests such as chest X-rays, MRI, CT scans, ECG, blood test or physical examination. Patient will be advised to stop taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or blood thinners several days prior to the procedure. Patient who has unstable compression fractures, any bleeding disorders, osteomyelitis (bone infection), fracture fragment or tumor in the spinal canal are not considered as a suitable candidate for the vertebraplasty procedure.

During the surgery, patient will be given local anesthesia and light sedation to relax. A needle will be inserted into the fractured vertebrae with the guidance of X-ray through a small incision made in the patient’s skin. Surgeon will inject specially formulated acrylic bone cement directly into the fractured vertebrae to stabilize the vertebral bone. The cement will harden quickly congealing the fragment of the damaged vertebrae after the needle is removed. The incision will be closed after the surgery is done.

Patient may experience relief from the pain almost immediately after the surgery and in some cases, may require back brace. There will be some soreness at the incision site for 2-3 days post the surgery for which doctor will recommend some pain killers for the temporary discomfort. A regular check up and some physical therapy will ensure the better and faster recovery of the patient. Patient can resume to normal activities in a day or two but should avoid strenuous activities.

There are also few risks and complications associated with verteboplasty that may include:

• Infection

• Reaction to anesthesia

• Increased back pain

• Numbness or tingling in the back

• Paralysis

• Unexpected bleeding

• Venous embolism

• Root compression

• Cement leakage before it hardens

• Hemorrhaging

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