Prior to your procedure, you will have a thorough consultation with our Interventional Radiology nurse practitioner and one of our Interventional Radiologists. All possible treatment options will be reviewed and discussed with you in detail, and all of your questions will be answered.
After you arrive for your appointment, you will be escorted to a procedure room, where you will be asked to change into a patient gown. You will have an intravenous (IV) line placed in your arm so that pain medication and sedatives can be administered prior to and during your procedure. You will be positioned on an exam table, and fluoroscopy will be used to determine the most appropriate needle entry site. The radiologist will cleanse the overlying skin, and a small amount of local anesthetic (lidocaine) will be injected with a small needle. You will feel a tiny pinch similar to a pinprick while the anesthetic is injected.
After the area becomes numb, the radiologist will make a small nick in the skin and will insert the trocar into the fractured vertebral body while observing under fluoroscopy. A small amount of contrast material may be injected to confirm the proper needle position. The balloon will then be inserted through the needle and will be inflated to create a cavity in the fractured vertebra, and bone cement mixed with a small amount of inert barium will be injected through the needle into the cavity created by the balloon. Once a sufficient amount of bone cement has been placed, the needle will be removed, and a bandage will then be placed over the insertion site. You will remain on your stomach for about ten minutes while the cement begins to harden. You will then turn over and lie on your back for up to two hours while the cement continues to strengthen. You will be then discharged and will be given instructions and phone numbers of whom to call if you have any problems.
The contrast agent that is used during the procedure is an iodine-based material. Radiology Ltd. uses only non-ionic contrast agents (the safest kind), but with all contrast agents there is always the potential for allergic reaction. Be sure to tell your technologist if you have experienced a reaction to CT contrast in the past.
For your safety and the protection of others, we do not allow anyone other than patients in our exam rooms.