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Is Vertebral Augmentation Right For You?
You may be recommended for this procedure if you are suffering from pain caused by a vertebral compression fracture. This means that a vertebra (part of your spine) has collapsed, possibly due to a fall or the weakening of the vertebra. The cement functions as a sort of internal cast, providing pain relief and stabilizing the affected area of the spine.
There are two types of vertebral augmentation:
Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are usually out-patient procedures. However, they are occasionally performed under general anaesthetic, and in these cases patients are kept in hospital overnight.
You will lie on your stomach and will be given a local anaesthetic. The interventional radiologist will insert a needle into the spine using X-rays (sometimes combined with CT) to guide the needle, and will inject bone cement to the targeted area to make sure the bone does not collapse again.
During the kyphoplasty procedure, two balloons are inserted and inflated before the injection of the bone cement, while, in the other vertebral augmentation procedures mentioned above, an implant is expanded before being inserted into the vertebral area.
If you are given a local anaesthetic, you will be kept in hospital for two hours after surgery to be monitored before being discharged.
Vertebral compression fractures (VCFs) are the most common complication of osteoporosis, affecting more than 700,000 Americans annually. Fracture risk increases with age, with four in 10 white women older than 50 years experiencing a hip, spine, or vertebral fracture in their lifetime. VCFs can lead to chronic pain, disfigurement, height loss, impaired activities of daily living, increased risk of pressure sores, pneumonia, and psychological distress. Patients with an acute VCF may report abrupt onset of back pain with position changes, coughing, sneezing, or lifting.
Metastatic tumors should be considered as the cause in patients younger than 55 with no history of trauma or only minimal trauma. The bones of the spine are a common place for many types of cancers to spread. The cancer may cause destruction of part of the vertebra, weakening the bone until it collapses.
The main clinical symptoms of Vertebral Compression Fractures may include any of the following, alone or in combination:
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