Non-Surgical Treatment for Spinal Fractures from Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis, or loss of bone mass, can occur at any age, but most commonly occurs in individuals 60 years of age or older. When osteoporosis develops in the spine, the resulting bone loss can cause vertebrae to become brittle and more susceptible to spinal compression fractures (SCF). Untreated, SCF can cause unrelenting or severe back and hip pain, and may lead to a “hunch back” posture.
Vertebroplasty is a sophisticated technique proven to be successful in relieving SCF pain, strengthening weakened vertebrae, and restoring vertebral height and normal posture.
The pain specialists at National Spine & Pain Centers can accurately diagnose your pain and determine if this technique is right for you.
How does this technique help?
Nearly 50 million people in the U.S. have osteoporosis, and over 700,000 are diagnosed with SCFs every year. Studies reveal that once a fracture occurs, it is five times more likely for further fractures to happen.
The main section of each spinal vertebra is a large, round block of bone called a vertebral body. SCFs are caused when the vertebral body is weakened, resulting in variable degrees of collapse. SCF can lead to severe, prolonged back pain, limited movement, and the inability to complete routine activities. In some cases, the top of the vertebral body collapses more in front, producing a “wedged” vertebrae. This type of collapse can lead to pain at the site of the fracture, compression of spinal nerves, a band-like chest pain, and shortening of the muscles on each side of the spine. It may also lead to a hunched or stooped appearance (kyphosis) and the loss of vertebral height.
Vertebroplasty is an innovative procedure that provides immediate pain relief in many cases by stabilizing and reinforcing fractured vertebrae. Guided by fluoroscopy (x-ray), the physician inserts a small needle into the damaged vertebrae and injects specially formulated bone cement. The cement hardens within 15 minutes, providing instant stability and pain relief by sealing the fracture.
How long does it take?
Vertebroplasty is safely performed on an outpatient basis. The procedure takes about one hour. Afterwards, there is a short period of observed recovery time.
What are the expected results?
Vertebroplasty has been delivering excellent outcomes since the early 1990s, achieving dramatic results in up to 90 percent of cases. Some patients experience immediate pain relief and most report that their pain is gone or significantly better within 48 hours. Typically, patients resume normal activity within 24 hours.
Vertebroplasty resolves pain, stabilizes fractures, increases functional abilities, and reduces spinal deformity without surgery or prolonged recovery. By repairing the fracture, vertebroplasty promotes lasting pain relief.