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Compression Fracture Care: What to Expect Before, During, and After Vertebroplasty

Compression Fracture Care: What to Expect Before, During, and After Vertebroplasty

More than 75 million adults in the United States have back pain, and a compression fracture is the culprit in some of these cases. A compression fracture can cause the bones (vertebrae) that makeup your spine to collapse, resulting in severe pain, nerve compression, and spine instability. If you have a compression fracture, you may find it challenging to perform your regular daily activities. 

At aCELLerated Interventional Orthopedics, pain management specialist Dr. Brian K. Rich provides innovative pain management solutions. Successfully managing pain requires a comprehensive approach. 

Pain is unique in that it affects each person differently. Dr. Rich takes an individualized approach designed to help each patient find the right solution for easing pain and improving functioning. 

Vertebroplasty is a procedure that addresses compression fractures. It involves injecting a medical-grade cement into the fractured vertebra to stabilize the spine. It’s minimally invasive and performed on an outpatient basis. Read on to learn more about what to expect if you’re considering this procedure. 

Consultation and evaluation

If you’re considering vertebroplasty, you can expect to start with a comprehensive evaluation. Dr. Rich reviews your medical history, performs a physical exam, and may order imaging tests to assess the extent of the spinal damage. 

If you have recent imaging tests, Dr. Rich reviews those with you. It's crucial to discuss all medications and health conditions with him, as some may impact the procedure's safety or efficacy.

Preparing for the procedure

To prepare for vertebroplasty, Dr. Rich may advise you to stop certain medications, such as blood thinners, to reduce bleeding risks. Fasting for a few hours before the procedure is typical. You also need to arrange for someone to drive you home after the procedure.

Undergoing vertebroplasty 

Vertebroplasty is typically performed under local anesthesia and mild sedation, and the procedure takes about an hour. Dr. Rich uses fluoroscopy, a type of real-time X-ray, to guide a needle into the fractured vertebra. Once the needle is correctly positioned, he injects the bone cement, which hardens quickly. 

Safety and comfort

Your comfort and safety are our top priority. Throughout the procedure, our team monitors your vital signs and responds to any discomfort. Because vertebroplasty is minimally invasive, there is less pain and there are fewer risks compared to open surgery.

Immediate aftercare

Immediately after vertebroplasty, you’re taken to a recovery area where our staff monitors you closely. Most patients can go home the same day, but you need to rest for at least 24 hours after the procedure.

Recovery and rehabilitation

Recovery varies from person to person but is generally quick. You may experience some soreness at the injection site, which can be managed with pain medications. Dr. Rich provides instructions that are crucial to follow regarding your activity levels.

Follow-up appointments

Vertebroplasty has a solid success rate. Many patients report significant or complete pain relief and a noticeable improvement in mobility and quality of life. Coming in for your follow-up appointments are essential so we can monitor your recovery and spine health.

Lifestyle adjustments

After vertebroplasty, it’s essential to focus on your spine health. This may include physical therapy, exercises to strengthen your back muscles, and lifestyle changes like quitting smoking or maintaining a healthy weight.

Getting relief from lower back pain

Most patients who consider vertebroplasty have a condition that weakens their spine, such as osteoporosis or spinal arthritis. Vertebroplasty can not only relieve your pain, it can also improve your functioning so that you remain as independent and mobile as possible. 

If you’re considering vertebroplasty, stop in for a visit with Dr. Rich. He can address your questions and perform an evaluation to determine if this procedure is indeed the most appropriate treatment approach for you. Contact us at aCELLerated Interventional Orthopedics to request an appointment with Dr. Rich today.

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