In many cases, vertebral fractures can be treated through conservative methods such as bed rest, a back brace or pain medication. However, patients with osteoporosis or whose fractures have caused severe, long-term pain may benefit from a minimally invasive procedure such as vertebroplasty to relieve symptoms. This procedure is also recommended for patients who are too weak to undergo spinal surgery, or have a malignant tumor within the spine that has caused vertebral damage. Vertebroplasty is most effective when performed on fractures that are less than six months old.
During the administration of epidural anesthesia, it is recommended that a test dose be administered initially and the effects monitored before the full dose is given. When using a “continuous” catheter technique, test doses should be given prior to both the original and all reinforcing doses, because plastic tubing in the epidural space can migrate into a blood vessel or through the dura. When clinical conditions permit, the test dose should contain epinephrine (10 mcg to 15 mcg has been suggested) to serve as a warning of unintended intravascular injection. If injected into a blood vessel, this amount of epinephrine is likely to produce a transient “epinephrine response” within 45 seconds, consisting of an increase in heart rate and/or systolic blood pressure, circumoral pallor, palpitations, and nervousness in the unsedated patient. The sedated patient may exhibit only a pulse rate increase of 20 or more beats per minute for 15 or more seconds. Therefore, following the test dose, the heart rate should be monitored for a heart rate increase. Patients on beta-blockers may not manifest changes in heart rate, but blood pressure monitoring can detect a transient rise in systolic blood pressure. The test dose should also contain 10 mg to 15 mg of MARCAINE or an equivalent amount of another local anesthetic to detect an unintended intrathecal administration. This will be evidenced within a few minutes by signs of spinal block (., decreased sensation of the buttocks, paresis of the legs, or, in the sedated patient, absent knee jerk). The Test Dose formulation of MARCAINE contains 15 mg of bupivacaine and 15 mcg of epinephrine in a volume of 3 mL. An intravascular or subarachnoid injection is still possible even if results of the test dose are negative. The test dose itself may produce a systemic toxic reaction, high spinal or epinephrine-induced cardiovascular effects.
Corticosteroid side effects may cause weight gain, water retention, flushing (hot flashes), mood swings or insomnia, and elevated blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Any numbness or mild muscle weakness usually resolves within 8 hours in the affected arm or leg (similar to the facial numbness experienced after dental work). Patients who are being treated for chronic conditions (., heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis) or those who cannot temporarily discontinue anti-clotting medications should consult their personal physician for a risk assessment.