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Hurt Back, Spine Surgery, Back Pain, Low Back Pain, Pain, Pain Help, Pain Management, Percutaneous Vertebral Augmentation

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Augmentation means to add to not take away, a vertebral indicates a vertebra, and the word percutaneous means through the skin. PVA is minimally invasive procedure used to augment a vertebra that has fractured because of osteoporosis or injury to the spine.
Vertebroplasty Procedure 

Orientation of vertebrae

Orientation of vertebrae (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


A percutaneous vertebroplasty is a relatively new minimally spine invasive procedure used to treat compression fractures if traditional conservative therapy fails. Vertebroplasty may be able to offer spine stability to patients with spinal fractures caused by osteoporosis and those who have had trauma or tumors of the spine.

After a diagnosis of the compression fracture has been made through an MRI or CT scan ordered by a doctor, the patient lies prone and is sedated with a mild anesthetic. Under the guidance of an imaging technique called C-arm or fluoroscopy, the physician injects a cement-like mixture (polymethylmethacrylate) into the vertebra. The entire process takes one to two hours usually , although the actual injection usually takes only about 10 minutes. The cement mixture hardens in about half an hour and after a short recovery period the patient is sent home. Pain killers are often given to the patient for the first couple of days to help ease the pain.

Percutaneous vertebroplasty may be preferred to open surgery for osteoporosis patients because of the already brittle bone areas. However, percutaneous vertebroplasty will not correct the bone lost due to by osteoporosis nor grow it back; it may only stabilize the new fractures. The procedure may restore lost height and decrease “widow’s hump.”

Although the long-term prognosis may not be good for patients with spinal tumors, percutaneous vertebroplasty can be used for spine stabilization to improve their quality of life, pain relief and ability to function.

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