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Spinal Cement Doesn't Need Dye Test

Researchers tout simpler, safer method for injecting cement to bolster the spine

SUNDAY, July 7, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- Potentially dangerous dye testing may not be necessary before injecting cement into the spine, say researchers at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions.

Injecting cement into the spine, called percutaneous vertebroplasty (PV), is done to bolster the spine and relieve pain caused by tumors, compression fractures or other types of spinal damage.

Often, PV is preceded by an imaging procedure called venography, which involves injecting dyes to identify potential sites of cement leakage into spinal veins. These dyes improve imaging, but can cause severe allergic reactions or pool in the treatment area, making it more difficult to monitor the injection of cement.

In a study published in the June issue of the American Journal of Neuroradiology, the Hopkins researchers say they did 205 consecutive PV procedures in 137 patients without venography and had no major complications or cement leakage.

More than 80 percent of the patients had major pain relief after the PV, the study says.

The researchers say their study shows PV can be simplified, reducing the risk of complications, and still be effective.

More information

If you're facing spinal surgery or a spinal fracture that involves immobilization afterwards, this Virtual Hospital page details all you need to know about acrylic shells.

SOURCE: Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions news release, June 2002
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