The traditional treatment for fractures of the spine caused by osteoporosis has included pain reduction (medication), bed rest and bracing. Osteoporosis, the loss of calcium from bones resulting in weakened bone structure, increases the risk of fracture of vertebral body (the thick block of bone at the front of the vertebrae).
In this type of fracture, the top of the vertebral body collapses down with more collapse in front thus producing the ""wedged"" vertebrae, the ""dowagers"" hump and shortened height.
Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are both minimally invasive surgical procedures for treating osteoporotic fractures where a cement-like material is injected directly into the fractured bone. This stabilizes the fracture and provides immediate pain relief in many cases.
Kyphoplasty includes an additional step. Prior to injecting the cement-like material, a special balloon is inserted and gently inflated inside the fractured vertebrae. The goal of this step is to restore height to the bone thus reducing deformity of the spine. Most patients return to their normal daily activities after either procedure.
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