Centres of Excellence -> Spine Health -> Osteoporotic Spine Fractures

Osteoporotic Spine Fractures

What is osteoporosis?

Bone is a living tissue that is constantly renewed. When more bone starts to be lost than is built, the bone structure becomes weak. Osteoporosis is a silent disease that causes bone weakness that you may not feel until fractures occur. The disease mainly affects women over the age of 50. Thus, 50% of women over the age of 50 will experience a fracture during their lifetime due to bone weakness, and the most common osteoporotic fractures are spine fractures.

Can you have an osteoporotic fracture without pain?

There are so-called "silent" osteoporotic fractures of the spine that lead to a decrease in the height of the vertebral body and curvature of the spine. Such fractures do not require treatment, but they carry with them a five times higher risk that other osteoporotic fractures will occur. That is why they are a sign of severe osteoporosis that requires treatment.

What are the symptoms of osteoporotic spine fractures?

  • Sudden pain in the back
  • Intensification of back pain when standing and walking
  • Reduction of back pain when the patient lies down
  • Limitation of spinal movement
  • Loss of height
  • Spine distortion
  • Very rarely, leg weakness and loss of stool and urination control

What diagnostic tests should be performed?

How are osteoporotic spine fractures treated?

Most osteoporotic spine fractures do not require operative treatment. It is necessary to take pain medication for a few weeks, start treatment for osteoporosis, place an appropriate orthosis and start mobilizing the patient as soon as the pain is reduced to an acceptable level. Physical therapy is recommended after the fracture has healed, which is usually 3 to 6 months after the fracture occurred. However, some patients have severe pain that prevents them from getting out of bed or their pain lasts for a long time (more than 4-6 weeks), so we opt for one of the surgical treatment methods such as vertebroplasty, kyphoplasty or spine stabilization.

What is vertebroplasty/kyphoplasty?

Vertebroplasty/kyphoplasty is a method of strengthening the vertebral body with liquid cement that is introduced into the vertebra through a wide needle under the control of an X-ray device. The method can be performed under local anesthesia without putting the patient to sleep. After applying the cement, the pain stops quickly and the patient can return to normal activities very quickly.

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