Osteoporosis is the most widespread degenerative disease in the developed world causing more than 700,000 spinal fractures in the United State every year. A fracture in the spine – also called a vertebral compression fracture (VCF) – is when your vertebrae (the bones that make up your spine) break and collapse. In patients with osteoporosis this can occur with falls, lifting objects or just twisting the wrong way. These fractures can cause sudden extreme pain that severely impacts the patient’s mobility and quality of life.
Although spinal osteoporotic fractures are the most common type of fragility fracture, they largely remain undiagnosed and untreated. Many cases are not recognized by doctors and may be left untreated. When left untreated an individual is at risk to sustain another fracture or worsening of the original fracture within 12 months, this is known as referred to as the “fracture cascade.”
You may have a vertebral compression fracture if you have severe, sharp back pain that lasts longer than 3 day and are over 50 and/or have been told you have osteoporosis or low bone density.
At the Cantor Spine Institute, Dr. Anthony Giuffrida successfully treats spinal fractures using Balloon kyphoplasty- a minimally invasive procedure that stabilizes the fracture and provides immediate pain relief. The clinical evidence supporting balloon kyphoplasty has demonstrated excellent short and long-term results, including rapid and sustained pain relief, improved quality of life, and more activity days compared to non-surgical treatments.
“Kyphoplasty is used to give patients immediate relief from the severe pain caused by acute vertebral compression fractures. I love doing the procedure because patients come to us with severe debilitating pain, but after undergoing a 30- 60 minute in-office procedure, they go home with the fracture completely healed and pain-free,” says Dr. Giuffrida.
During the balloon kyphoplasty procedure, under X-ray guidance, a balloon is inserted through a small incision on the patient’s back into the fracture’s vertebra. The balloon is inflated to restore height to the compressed vertebra. Once the vertebra is in the correct position, the balloons are deflated and removed. Once the balloon is removed, the cavity that was created is filled with bone cement forming an “internal cast” to support the surrounding bone healing the fracture and preventing any further collapse. The procedure typically takes 30-60 minutes per fracture and may be performed at Cantor Spine Institute in an outpatient setting. The procedure can be done using and combination of local anesthesia and conscious sedation. The goal of Kyphoplasty is to relieve pain and prevent worsening of the fracture.
In comparison, the traditional standard of care for a spine fracture is bed rest, pain medication, physical therapy, bracing and local steroid injections. These common treatment options can take up to 12 months to give the patient pain relief and this method does not stabilize the fracture site. Without treating and stabilizing the fracture, pain continues, and the patient may develop a condition called kyphosis, or rounded back. Kyphosis, signified by the so-called dowager’s hump, compresses the chest and abdominal cavity, which can result in serious negative health and quality of life consequences.
At the Cantor Spine Institute, our first goal is always to avoid surgery. Most patients with spinal problems will recover with well-managed and appropriate nonsurgical treatment. Those who do not respond, now have better options through minimally invasive procedures. These procedures are offering a new world of opportunities for a safer and better outcome for our patients.
If you have incapacitating pain or have been diagnosed with a spinal fracture, please call us to schedule an appointment. Kyphoplasty can help you improve the quality of your life. (954) 567-1332