Vertebroplasty

This procedure aims to relieve the pain of compression fractures. It is a minimally invasive procedure which, in addition to relieving pain, may be used to strengthen weakened vertebral bodies and prevent further fractures.

The procedure is undertaken under general anaesthetic and under image guidance the needle is positioned into the effected vertebral body. A small amount of orthopaedic cement is injected into the vertebra which rapidly hardens.

Hospital stay

On average patients will spend 2-3 nights in hospital. You may need to lie flat for several hours following the procedure and keep your spine aligned. After this time you will be able to sit and lie however you are comfortable. You will be encouraged to drink plenty of fluids.

You will be seen by our physiotherapist who will help get mobile as soon as possible. You will be mobilised gently initially and this should be increased daily. Each day post surgery you will be encouraged to undertake more activities for yourself such as washing and dressing.

Medication

On discharge you will be given at least one week’s supply of analgesia and any other required medications. With most analgesia it is advisable to take a regular laxative as all analgesia has a constipating side effect. If you require further medications your GP should be able to write a prescription. Alternatively, your consultant will prescribe if appropriate at your follow-up appointment.

Mobility

In order to be discharged you need to be as independent as you were pre-surgery, if not more so.

When sitting, a high backed chair is preferable to a low chair or sofa. Initially, sitting may be uncomfortable and you should move around every 20 – 30 minutes.

Driving

Your surgeon will advise, however you will be able to resume driving when able to perform an emergency stop safely, without harming yourself or anyone else. Some discomfort in the affected area may limit you.

You are able to be a passenger in a car post surgery. It is advisable to sit in the passenger seat with the seat reclined and use a cushion for support if comfortable. If the journey is greater than 45mins have regular breaks and stretch your legs.

Flying

Your surgeon will advise, however it is common to abstain from flying for one week following surgery. When flying it is advisable to recline your seat and regularly walk up and down the gangway.

Work

Your consultant will advise you. If possible graduate your return to work; a few hours a day for a few days a week. If absolutely necessary to take public transport travel at quiet times, early morning or late morning, avoiding rush hour. If you are in a sedentary job regularly stand and walk around. If you have an active job you may require a longer period off work and should consider lighter duties on your return.

Exercise

Walking is initially the best exercise for you. You should aim to gently increase the amount of walking you undertake and return to your normal exercise regime gradually.

Do not lift anything over 3kg in weight. You must not bend or twist until advised otherwise.

Wound care

Your wounds will be covered with a large dressing, the size of which will be reduced before your discharge. You will have small puncture wounds which should heal within a week.

Information given are guidelines and may vary from patient to patient.

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