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Spine Surgery Guide

Vertebroplasty Overview

Approximately 85% fractures in old age are caused by osteoporosis (a condition in which total mass of the bones decrease) and remaining 15% are caused by bone weakness caused by other conditions or spread of cancer to the bones.

Out of these one third patients may present with significant pain in spite of non-operative measures like bed rest, hospitalization, pain killer medications or bracing.

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Vertebroplasty is a procedure in which a special type of synthetic cement material is injected inside the broken spine bone, giving excellent results in pain relief with very low incidence of side effects, can be performed in the out patient setting under local anesthesia and light sedation, there by obviating the need of expensive and extensive surgical procedures which usually have high incidence of morbidities and mortalities in such group of patients.

The patients can be discharged the same evening or the next day and are able to walk .Procedure can be safely done in osteoporotic fractures, painful spine bones after spread of cancer, non cancerous painful tumors of spine bones or to augment strength of weak spine bone prior to insertion of screws to increase the holding power of the weak bones for other surgical procedures.

Advantages of Vertebroplasty

Vertebroplasty is considered for patients with painful compression fractures in the spine, often caused by osteoporosis. Because the treatment often results in a dramatic decrease in pain, the advantages are numerous.
  • Decreased pain : - A compression fracture causes sharp and debilitating pain. Those suffering from these fractures are often prescribed bed rest and pain medication. Vertebroplasty reduces and in some cases eliminates the need for pain medication, and it also restores mobility in many patients.
  • Increased functional abilities : - The pain from a compression fracture is usually sharp and debilitating, leaving people unable to perform everyday tasks. Vertebroplasty stabilizes the fracture, decreases pain dramatically and allows a return to the previous level of activity.
  • Prevention of further vertebral collapse : - The cement fills spaces in bones made porous by osteoporosis, strengthening the bone so that it is less likely to fracture again.
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This information is not designed to replace a physician's independent judgment about the appropriateness or risks of a procedure for a given patient.
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