Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Upper Spine FAQ

Question:

Mother is going to have a vertebroplasty this week. Her regular surgeon isn't available, so they are recommending the radiologist do the procedure. I'm not really sure how to ask this question but are they qualified to do surgery?

Answer:

Vertebroplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that doesn't require an open incision and can be done by certain medical doctors with advanced training. Orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, radiologists, internists and even anesthesiologists are doing vertebroplasties. The procedure involves a percutaneous (through the skin) approach. Very small instruments are used to perform the vertebroplasty. This lessens the chance of bleeding, infection, and injury to muscles and tissues. The physician uses a special real-time X-ray called fluoroscopy to see inside the body and accurately guide the needle used to inject the vertebral body with a special bone cement. The cement strengthens and stiffens the vertebra, which reduces pain considerably and helps the patient return to normal activities. More than 80 percent of patients get immediate relief of pain with this procedure. In the hands of an experienced physician, the rate of major complications with vertebroplasty is a reportedly low 0.5 per cent. Murat Cosa, MD, et al. The Major Complications of Transpedicular Vertebroplasty. In Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine. November 2009. Vol. 11. No. 5. Pp. 607-613.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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