Osteoporosis is a “silent” disease characterized by weakening of bones, making them more susceptible to fractures, typically in the hip and spine. Elderly people and especially post-menopausal women are at greater risk of developing osteoporosis.
The mid to lower back area of the spine is mainly involved in weight-bearing, making these regions of the spine more prone to collapse when bone weakness is present. This can lead to spinal (vertebral) compression fractures. Many of these vertebral compression fractures occur by minimal trauma or by no trauma at all. They can even occur while performing simple activities, like bending or twisting.
Symptoms range from severe pain in the back, arms and legs to no pain at all. You may believe that your back pain is just a part of aging, letting these vertebral compression fractures go undiagnosed. However, a single vertebral fracture significantly increases your risk of further fractures. When multiple fractures occur, it causes the spine to become rounded and bend forward, resulting in loss of height and a hunchback appearance. This forward curvature of the spine negatively affects the quality of life and makes it more difficult for you to breathe, eat, walk or sleep. Vertebral compression fractures can also occur from conditions such as a metastatic tumor, multiple myeloma, and vertebral hemangioma.
Vertebroplasty is a minimally invasive procedure performed to reduce or eliminate pain caused by a vertebral compression fracture. It stabilizes the fracture and prevents further collapse of the vertebra, averting deformity.
The procedure cannot be performed under the following situations:
- A compression fracture is stable and does not cause any pain
- A fractured fragment or tumor is present in the spinal canal
- Presence of a bone infection or bleeding disorder
- The vertebroplasty procedure involves the injection of bone cement into the fractured vertebra under high pressure.
- The procedure is performed under general or local anesthesia. You will be lying face down on the operating table.
- Dr. Vengurlekar will make a very small 1/2-inch incision on the skin over the fracture site. Under live X-ray guidance, a hollow needle called a trocar is introduced through the back and positioned within the fractured vertebrae.
- Next, bone cement is injected into the area through the trocar under high pressure.
- After the vertebral body is filled completely with the bone cement, the needle is withdrawn before the cement hardens.
X-rays or CT scans may be taken to confirm the effective spread of the bone cement into the fractured vertebra. The skin incision is closed using Steri-Strips.
As with any surgery, some risks can occur. General complications include bleeding, infection, blood clots and reactions to anesthesia. The specific complications following a thoracic vertebroplasty include leakage of the bone cement into the surrounding soft tissues or veins, and damage to the spinal cord or spinal nerves, leading to numbness or paralysis.
Scottsdale Pain Management Specialist Dr. Vengurlekar recognizes that millions of people on a daily basis do a great deal of sitting. This includes the commute to work, sitting at a desk for hours, heading home, and spending additional time sitting. While it might be a necessity for everyday life, long periods of time spent seated have caused millions of people worldwide to suffer from constant back pain. Fortunately, there are ways to relieve the stress that people put on their back from day to day. One particular tool for use is a Standing Desk.