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"Noninvasive diagnosis, minimally invasive therapy"

Spinal Compression Fractures

Spinal Compression Fracture is a painful condition which usually occurs after a a fall or other traumatic injury that results in a break or fracture of one or more of the bones in the spinal column. This typically occurs in patients with osteoporosis or patients with brittle bones, usually in elderly patients. However, fractures can occur in younger patients depending on the severity of the trauma. Few patients also do not remember having a traumatic event before the onset of pain.

What happens in a fracture is that planes develop between the bony fragments, and the fragments move against one another causing intense pain. Patients usually describe the severe pain most intensely when going from the lying to seated or standing positions. The pain improves with lying flat.

Traditionally treatment has been conservative with pain management with medications such as strong pain killers and wearing a back brace. The bones tend to heal over about 6 weeks to several months. Few patients never heal their fractures completely and have continued pain. All patients with osteoporosis, regardless of their treatment should be given medications to build their bones, including calcium, vitamin D, and most importantly bisphosphonates.

Interventional Radiology Specialists, Inc. offer a minimally invasive treatment for symptomatic spinal compression fractures known as Vertebroplasty. Vertebroplasty, also described as kyphoplsty or vertebral augmentation, is performed with the patient under mild sedation lying on his or her abdomen. From the back, a needle is placed into the bone, and a polymer bone cement is injected into the fracture. This fuses the bony fragments of the fracture and results in substantial relief in pain. Many patients experience relief from the pain following the procedure. Some patients have mild residual pain for up about two weeks. The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, and most patients are sent home on the same day.

Not all patients are candidates for vertebroplasty. You and your doctors will determine the most appropriate treatment.

If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment to schedule a consultation with one of our doctors, please contact us.