Vertebroplasty in Fairfield County, CT
Your vertebrae are the 33 interlocking bones that form your spinal column. A fractured vertebra can result from osteoporosis, trauma or diseases that impact bones, including cancer. Not only can it be extremely painful, but a fractured vertebra can lead to immobility and other serious complications like deep vein thrombosis. When traditional treatments are not successful, vertebroplasty is an alternative treatment whereby a specially-formulated cement is injected into the fractured vertebra. Vertebroplasty is usually an outpatient procedure and can, in some cases, alleviate pain, restore mobility and prevent or correct dangerous complications from your fractured vertebra.
When is Vertebroplasty an Appropriate Treatment for Your Fractured Vertebra?
Although a vertebroplasty is not without risk, it has the potential to alleviate the symptoms of a fractured vertebra and improve your quality of life when traditional treatments have failed to produce the results you seek. Doctors generally will recommend a vertebroplasty when:
- You have experienced long-term immobility and chronic pain
- You have developed serious complications from your fractured vertebra, including respiratory problems, accelerated osteoporosis, deep vein thrombosis, significant loss of height, or other debilitating issues
- Traditional treatments like physical therapy, bed rest, medication (e.g., pain relievers and muscle relaxants) and back braces have not alleviated your symptoms
What to Expect from Your Vertebroplasty Procedure
Before the procedure, your healthcare provider will determine the location of your fractured vertebra using a combination of the following diagnostic options: physical exam, medical history, X-ray, CT scan or MRI. Prior to your vertebroplasty, it is important to report all medical conditions, medications, herbal supplements or vitamins, especially anti-coagulant (blood thinning) substances. Diabetes, hypertension and anti-coagulant conditions should be controlled before the procedure.
Vertebroplasty - usually an outpatient procedure—can last 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the number of vertebrae being treated. The longest part of your vertebroplasty involves setting up the equipment and making sure the needle is perfectly positioned in the vertebra. You will receive either a local anesthetic to numb the area surrounding the fractured vertebra, or in some cases, general anesthesia. A maximum of three vertebrae can be injected in one procedure, and each vertebra will require 1-2 injections of the cement. Your healthcare provider will use a continuous X-ray to guide the needle into the fractured vertebra while the rest of your body is protected from radiation. You must lie flat for 1-2 hours after the procedure and are usually released within 4 hours. You cannot drive after the procedure and can only be driven home if you live nearby; otherwise, an overnight stay at a nearby hotel is recommended.
The procedure is usually well tolerated, with minor complications in only 1-3 percent of procedures. Risks can include: infection, nerve root irritation, fever, bone fractures, hemorrhaging, blood loss, or cement escaping the vertebra before hardening. While the cement cures, vertebroplasty can worsen your pain, but it is temporarily and occurs rarely. Vertebroplasty usually results in pain reduction immediately or within the first few days after the procedure. Estimates vary but between 60-90% of patients experience increased mobility and pain relief. You might experience some soreness at the site of the injection, but generally, you can expect to resume your normal activity level within 24-48 hours after the procedure. You should avoid heavy lifting and strenuous exertion for 6 weeks.
If you've been suffering from symptoms of a fractured vertebra, a vertebroplasty can be a relatively safe and effective alternative to traditional treatment modalities. Request more information about vertebroplasty today. Call (929) 244-4466 or contact Manhattan Integrative Medicine online.
Manhattan Integrative Medicine
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