A vertebral fracture is a common complication of osteoporosis. The condition causes the bones in your spine to become less dense and when that happens, a fracture can occur with a sudden movement or fall. Some vertebral fractures heal on their own, but others may cause intense pain and be slow to heal. In that case, surgery might be indicated. Your doctor has options for surgical procedures depending on your condition. A vertebroplasty might be recommended. Here's an overview of how the procedure is done.
How Vertebroplasty Is Done
A vertebroplasty is minimally invasive. You don't need general anesthesia and you probably won't need to stay in the hospital. A vertebroplasty is usually an outpatient procedure that is done with a local anesthetic and that is why it is a good treatment for a vertebral fracture if you are a suitable candidate.
After your back is numb, the doctor inserts a needle into the spinal area. The doctor views a monitor to guide the needle toward the fracture in your spine. The tip of the needle is placed near the fracture and then a bone cement mixture is delivered that seals the fracture and stabilizes the bone. The needle is withdrawn and the bone cement hardens within several minutes. The puncture area in your back doesn't require any stitches. It is covered with a bandage and the procedure is complete.
How Vertebroplasty Helps A Fracture
A vertebral fracture can be very painful. This is because the fractured bone pieces are not stable and they shift when you move around. This pinches the nerve in your back and causes pain in your back and radiating pain that might be felt elsewhere along the path of the nerve. The goal of the vertebroplasty procedure is to stabilize the bone so it won't shift, grind bone on bone, and press on a nerve. You could notice relief from your back pain in just a few days after the procedure.
What To Expect During Recovery
Recovery from a vertebroplasty is usually quick and easy since it is not major surgery. There might be some soreness near the site of the injection, but that goes away quickly. Your doctor will let you know when you can resume your normal activities, but generally, you'll need to avoid strenuous activity for a few days and then gradually get back to your normal routine.
If you're experiencing sudden back pain after a hard sneeze or jolt to your back, you should see your doctor as soon as you can. While some vertebral fractures heal on their own in a few months with rest, you don't want to be in intense pain for that long. A vertebroplasty could be a way to stop your pain so you can get on with your daily life. Look into treatments, such as with Radius, for more options.