My mother's doctor wants to inject cement into her back to help her with her pain. He says that my mother has fractured discs and that the cement will help keep them stable. Will this hurt and how is it done?
If your mother has vertebral fractures, she is likely in a good bit of pain. The treatment of injecting cement into the spinal area is meant to help relieve the pain. The cement the doctor uses is a special cement that has been used for many years in different types of treatments, including dental work. It's designed to bond with bone and to set quickly so it doesn't go outside of the area where it is supposed to be. The procedure is called a vertebroplasty.
The advantage to vertebroplasty is that it is not surgery, however, your mother may be given a general anesthetic - some doctors use only sedatives, given by intravenous, while others prefer to use general anesthetic. If your mother is not under a general anesthetic, a local anesthetic will be injected into the area where the needle will go.
The doctor will use an x-ray type of machine to know where exactly to inject the cement, which is injected through the back. After the cement hardens, usually about 20 minutes or so, the procedure is over.
The procedure is done on an outpatient basis.
Maria Daniela Vlad, BSc, et al. Iron Oxide Nanoparticles Significantly Enhances the Injectability of Apatitic Bone Cement for Vertebroplasty. In Spine. October 2008. Vol. 33. No. 21. Pp. 2290-2298.
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