Monday, March 2, 2009

I have a vertebral compression fracture (VCF)--what can be done?

Until recently, conservative therapy (bedrest and pain medications) was the only option for treatment of vertebral compression fracture (VCF) until recent development of a procedure known as vertebroplasty.

Since then, vertebroplasty and other procedures that fix these fractures have been developed, including kyphoplasty. Virtually all of these procedures have a high success rate for pain relief. They can also be safely performed by experienced doctors even in patients that are not candidates for surgery.

This is especially helpful since many patients with a VCF are older and more prone to having chronic diseases such as hardening of the arteries and lung disease. These diseases can increase a person's risk of serious complication during major surgery. Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty, however, are minimally invasive procedures that can be done with intravenous (IV) sedation rather than general anesthesia.

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