What is Percutaneous Vertebroplasty?
Percutaneous vertebroplasty (PV) is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat painful vertebral body compression fractures. It involves injecting special liquid cement into fractured vertebral sections. PV is being used to fill holes in the spinal column left from osteoporosis, a degenerative bone disease. Spinal compression fractures are a common problem for women with osteoporosis and may cause deformation, pain, and the potential loss of sensation, mobility, and continence. PV helps rebuild the collapsed spine and relieves pain and pressure.
How do I prepare for the procedure?
Before the procedure you will be given a mild sedative. No other patient preparation is required.
How is the procedure performed?
To perform this minimally invasive procedure, an interventional radiologist places a needle through the skin into the area of the spine needing treatment. X-rays are used to help guide the needle. Once the needle is positioned properly, special liquid cement, called polymethylmethacrylate is injected into the spinal fracture. The liquid cement is a special medical compound commonly used to cement artificial joints in place. It is mixed with an antibiotic powder to prevent infection and a barium powder so that it can be seen under the x-ray machine during injection. Once injected, the liquid cement takes approximately 20 minutes to harden. When it hardens, it becomes a permanent spinal reinforcement. The procedure usually takes about one hour per vertebra.
What should I expect after the procedure?
After the liquid cement has been injected into the spine, you will be instructed to rest on you back for an hour before getting up. The majority of patients can leave the hospital or outpatient facility within two hours after the procedure. It may take several weeks before you can resume full activity. In some cases, we may recommend a short course of physical therapy.
This technique has a very low incidence of procedural complications and is approximately 90-95% effective in reducing and/or completely eliminating pain within 24 hours of the procedure. The procedure also results in an increase in bone strength, 4-5 times stronger than normal vertebral body, and prevents progression of compression deformity and associated risk of neural injury or recurring symptoms.