Spine Animations

Spine Animations

Tip of the Week

Poor posture can damage the spine and its associated muscles and ligaments. A hunched stance places abnormal stress on muscles and ligaments, causes backache and fatigue, and can even cause the spine to become fixed in an abnormal position.

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Vertebroplasty

vertebroplastyVertebroplasty is a non-surgical therapy used to strengthen a broken or weakened vertebra or spinal bone. You may be a candidate for this procedure if you have a vertebra affected by osteoporosis or, less commonly, cancer.

Vertebroplasty can increase your functional abilities, allow you to return to your previous level of activity and prevent further vertebral collapse. This therapy often successfully can alleviate the pain caused by a compression fracture.

Your Charleston back surgeon often can perform Vertebroplasty on an outpatient basis. The procedure basically strengthens a fractured vertebral bone by injecting an orthopedic cement mixture through a needle into the bone.

Overview

Vertebroplasty is a minimally invasive treatment used to repair spine fractures caused by osteoporosis or cancer, as shown in the top illustration. It stabilizes the spine, providing rapid back pain relief while helping to prevent your spine from weakening further. The procedure is described below. Ask your doctor about your risks and recovery expectations.

1. Taking a Bone Biopsy

After your physician anesthetizes the injection site on your back, he uses a fluoroscope to accurately insert a tube through a small incision. Then he inserts one or two needles through the tube into the collapsed vertebra to collect diseased bone tissue for later study. Refer to the middle illustration.

2. Stabilizing the Fracture

The doctor then fills the weakened area of your vertebra with bone cement to stabilize the fracture, as shown in the bottom illustration. Once filled, the tube is removed. In some cases, the physician may inject the cement in both the left and right sides of your vertebra.

3. Recovering from the Procedure

An “internal cast” is now in place in your vertebra. The cast stabilizes the vertebral body and provides rapid mobility and pain relief. Most patients feel a significant reduction in pain within days.

You should remain in bed for the first day after the procedure. You gradually can increase your level of acti