What is vertebral cementing, and when is it helpful?
The elderly are prone to osteoporosis and weakened bones. Occasionally weakened vertebrae will fracture, causing chronic severe pain and limiting mobility. Treatment options include bed rest, back bracing, physical therapy, and pain medications. However, if these remedies are unsuccessful, vertebral cementing will likely be recommended. For patients who are too frail for surgery, we may recommend vertebroplasty (vertebral cementing). This minimally invasive outpatient procedure strengthens broken vertebrae.
How is the procedure performed?
Vertebral cementing typically takes less than one hour to perform. We will start an IV so that we can administer some medication to relax you and reduce pain. We then scrub the back with a cleaning solution while you will lie on your stomach so that we can clearly visualize the fractured vertebrae. We will numb a small area of skin and use X-ray guidance to place a needle into the fractured bone, and inject medical-grade orthopedic cement, which hardens quickly. The procedure can be performed by injecting cement directly through the needle (vertebroplasty) or injecting the cement into a hole created within the bone by a balloon (kyphoplasty). The cement stabilizes the collapsed vertebrae and may help return it to its normal size.
What will happen after vertebroplasty?
You rest in the recovery area for 30-60 minutes before you are discharged to go home. You should start feeling some relief immediately.