Traditional Medical Treatment of Compression Fractures
Traditionally, medical treatment of painful osteoporotic compression fractures consists of bedrest, narcotic medications and bracing. More recently, drugs such as Miacalcin have been used with some success to treat the acute pain associated with these fractures. These medical treatments are not without problems. While some patients improve with simple measures and time, many others do not. Pain may result in the need for chronic narcotics. Back braces are uncomfortable. Prolonged bedrest is poorly tolerated in the elderly due to medical problems such as blood clots, pneumonia and skin ulcers. Standard open surgery is not recommended due to poor outcomes.
Kyphoplasty is a new treatment option for patients with painful osteoportic compression fractures. The kyphoplasty procedure is performed by inserting a ballon into the fractured vertebra through a small stab wound on the back. The ballon is inflated to restore the normal height of the vertebral body. Cement is then injected into the vertebra to stabalize the fracture as depicted below.
The kyphoplasty procedure is minimally invasive and performed with limited surgery time. Only one day of hospitalization is required. Recovery is short and patients immediately return to their usual activities of daily living. A brace is not required.
Results of Kyphoplasty are over 90% good to excellent. Results are best for acute fractures less than 3 months old, but even patients with chronic or old fractures can benefit from the procedure.