Compression fractures occur most commonly in people with osteoporosis. As your body ages, your bones stop regenerating as fast as when you were younger, and they can start to break down. Many people will get a compression fracture in their spine doing something simple like lifting a heavy object. The symptoms include back pain, losing height, and numbness or tingling in your limbs.
The fracture can lead to nerve damage that can cause numbness or tingling, as well as lack of feeling or loss of some ability to move your limbs. This can start out minor but over time the fractures can continue to occur on additional parts of the spine making the symptoms worse.
Like most of the procedures performed by the providers at ISS, this one can safely be done right in our office. Most patients will receive moderate sedation. For this procedure, a specialized needle is inserted through the skin and placed inside the vertebral cavity. We make sure the needle is in the correct place using an X-ray machine called a fluoroscope. The fluoroscope provides real-time images as the needle is inserted and adjusted into the exact right place. Through this needle, we insert a small balloon into the fractured area. This balloon is slowly inflated and restores the height of the vertebrae and is then removed. The empty space left by the balloon is filled with specialized bone cement, which also flows to the surrounding fracture, creating an internal, permanent cast. We continue to use the fluoroscope to take real-time images throughout the procedure.
After the procedure, we will take you to a recovery room but you will be able to go home within an hour after the procedure. Once home, most patients resume their normal activity other than avoiding things like lifting heavy objects. Often, back pain will start to ease 24 to 48 hours after the procedure.