What is Sacroplasty?
Sacroplasty is a minimally invasive procedure performed to reduce or eliminate pain caused from a fractured sacrum due to osteoporosis and to improve stability.
Osteoporosis is a “silent” disease characterized by the weakening of bones, making them more susceptible to fractures. Elderly people and especially post-menopausal women are at greater risk of developing osteoporotic sacral fractures. Sacral fractures can also occur in younger patients on long-term steroids.
Indications for Sacroplasty
Sacroplasty is typically recommended when conservative treatments, such as bed rest, back bracing, or pain medication are ineffective, or if the side effects of analgesic medicines have become problematic causing drowsiness or stomach ulcers.
The sacroplasty procedure involves the injection of a cement mixture into the fractured sacrum under high pressure which acts like an internal cast.
The procedure is performed under local anesthesia. You will be lying face down on the procedure table. Your doctor will make a very small incision on the skin over the fracture site. Under live CT guidance, a hollow needle is introduced through the back and positioned within the fractured sacrum.
Next, bone cement is injected into the area. After the vertebral body is filled completely with the bone cement, the needle is withdrawn before the cement hardens.
X-rays or CT scans may be taken to confirm the effective spread of the bone cement into the fractured vertebra. The skin incision is closed using steri-strips.
Risks and Complications of Sacroplasty
As with any surgery, some risks can occur. General complications include bleeding, infection, and reactions to anesthesia. Rarely, leakage of the bone cement into the surrounding soft tissues or veins may occur and can be transported through the vascular system to the lungs potentially causing breathing problems.