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Vertebroplasty Round 2

by on January 15, 2010

The vertebroplasty on Satomi’s first 3 vertebrae seems to have worked quite well.  For the first time in many months, she can sit up in bed with little pain.

The vertebrae above (T9, T10, T11) and below (L3, L4, L5) the “fixed” bones are now the problem.  Just like any load-bearing structure, the spine is designed to distribute the stresses of the body evenly across its length.  If any individual point becomes damaged (i.e vertebral compressive fractures), the previously evenly distributed loads become biased onto those weaker points causing further damage.  Now that her central vertebrae have been reinforced with the medical cement, the stress concentration on the adjacent vertebrae has increased as well as Satomi’s pain in those areas.  (If you are interested in further engineering-speak, take a look at:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stress_concentration). 

We’re scheduled to begin our second vertebroplasty procedure next week. The Pre-Op fluoroscope review is set for Tuesday the 19th to decide if the next work will be done on the upper-adjacent or lower-adjacent vertebrae.  Both sets seem equally as painful.

This stress concentration issue is the primary reason doctors recommend that treated vertebrae be next to one another.  In all likelihood we’re going to need at least another 2 sessions to address all the seriously damaged bones.  We don’t have recent detailed scans on her lower back so we are basing our expectations purely on Satomi’s pain level.

With only a bit of coaxing by me, things are moving fairly quickly on these procedures.  Luckily all of our blood work, Cardiac scans, and other tests are recent enough to re-use.  Hopefully, things will go smoother this time around.  You all better believe that I’ll be triple checking everything beforehand.

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From → Medical Update

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