Many patients with osteoporosis have such deterioration in their bone density that they can fracture a vertebra by the most seemingly innocuous methods, such as sneezing, getting out of bed at the wrong angle, or just bending over. These are compression fractures of the vertebrae and they can cause severe pain and limit mobility.
At Desert Vein & Vascular we provide an alternative to spinal surgery for many of these patients with vertebroplasty. Vertebroplasty is a minimally invasive procedure where we directly inject bone cement into the injured vertebra.
What are the benefits of vertebroplasty?
Compression fractures can heal on their own with conservative methods, such as bed rest, a back brace, and use of ongoing pain medication. But if the patient has osteoarthritis and the pain is severe and chronic, a vertebroplasty can be a great solution.
- Can eliminate the need for surgery
- Usually removes or decreases pain
- Requires virtually no recovery
- Involves no scarring
- Involves no bleeding
- Creates little to no discomfort
- Can prevent future fractures in the treated area
How is a vertebroplasty done?
Dr. Rami performs vertebroplasty as an outpatient procedure. The patient is under sedation and local anesthetic is used at the injection location. Dr. Rami uses X-rays to pinpoint the precise location of the fracture. After the bone cement is injected, the patient is required to lie still while the cement hardens, usually a period of around two hours. Most patients can then return home.
After Vertebroplasty Procedure
Patients rest for one day, and can then return to normal activities in most cases. Most patients have an immediate reduction in pain, but sometimes the reduction is more gradual and building. Heavy lifting and strenuous exercise need to wait for six weeks to be sure not to stress the cemented vertebra.
If you have osteoarthritis and worry about compression fractures, call us at Desert Vein & Vascular, (623) 847-3884, and let’s see how we can help.