Back Pain Alleviation For Osteoporosis Patients Thanks To New Technology
Vertebral osteoplasty- the new procedure, can alleviate the numbing back pain in osteoporosis patients.
According to estimates, as many as 700,000 vertebral compression fractures (related to osteoporosis) appear annually. So far treatment options for these fractures have been limited to prescribing pain medications, decreased activity, or bed rest. Only few patients, however, felt relief. Now, vertebral osteoplasty is available for them.
Vertebral osteoplasty is designed to bring considerable relief for back pain that results from spinal compression fractures in the thoraco-lumbar spine. This technique is a not an invasive procedure. It ensures surgeons easier access to a patient?s vertebral body (where a cushion of pain-relieving material can be located). This method has been more and more often used by surgeons, thanks to its positive results. It also appears that this method is extraordinarily effective- patients who have entered the hospital on the wheelchair walk out the next day.
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How to perform the procedure? Firstly, the needle is placed (through the skin) to the area of the spine in need of treatment through fluoroscopic guidance. Then, the bone cement in injected into the collapsed and the two adjacent vertebral bodies of the spine to reinforce the bone. The cement hardens within about 5 minutes. As a result it becomes a spinal reinforcement. The procedure lasts about 15 minutes per vertebra.
One of the surgeons who have been pioneering the procedure is a spine surgeon Ralph Rashbaum, M.D., who is medical director and co-founder of Texas Back Institute. ?Vertebral osteoplasty has revolutionized the treatment of osteoporotic compression fractures. Prior to this procedure, patients had to suffer for months with significant pain because traditional spinal surgery procedures were too invasive and too risky for older patients, often with many other health problems. Now, patients are reporting significant and often complete resolution of their pain with a simple procedure that has them back to their daily activities within 1-2 days.?- he says.
According to Dr. Rashbaum, apart from patients benefits, the procedure has also benefits for surgeons who utilize the technique. ?By making a small stab incision and injecting bone cement through a cannula no bigger than a straw,? he said, ?I can restore the strength of the vertebrae as well as relieve the pain. The entire procedure time is less than 30 minutes and the complication rate is negligibly small.?
The method is introduced in the growing number of hospitals all over the country. It requires a one- night stay of a patient.
The patients are usually elderly women, due to the fact that they are more susceptible to osteoporosis.