As an medical office, we want to offer comprehensive care for all types of bone injuries or fractures. Over the past year, through the kyphoplasty procedure, Dr. Downey has added thoracic and lumbar compression fractures to the list of treatable conditions.
Vertebral bones form the foundation of the spine, but in certain cases of osteoporosis, motor vehicle accidents, and fall injuries, a compression fracture can form. Typically, the compression fracture will be first noticed on Xray with wedge deformity seen causing loss of anterior bone height. In cases, where an injury is nonspecific, Dr. Downey can obtain an MRI to determine if the fracture is acute and non-healed. The most common levels generally found to have fractures are the lower thoracic and upper lumbar spine.
Osteoporosis is a progressive bone disease that causes decreased bone density. It affects approximately 55% of all individuals over the age of 50 with nearly 80% of those being women. Approximately 700,000 vertebral fractures occur annually in the US, but only 1/3 are recognized.
If you have a history of osteoporosis and suffer from severe lower back or lower thoracic pain following a fall or injury, please call (205)271-6504 and let Dr. Downey evaluate you for a possible compression fracture. Typical treatments initially include pain medication and a lumbar brace. In those cases where symptoms are severe and significantly affecting mobility and function, you may be a great candidate for the kyphoplasty procedure.
The procedure is performed using sterile technique as would be seen for any surgery case. Our anesthesia team is on site to monitor safely all patients while they are given IV Propofol for moderate sedation. Once the patient is asleep, a small needle is placed under fluoroscopy (X-ray guidance) into the compressed vertebra. Using a small balloon placed through the port needle, a cavity is created within the bone. Cement is injected into the vertebra filling the cavity and fractured bone. It takes about 10 minutes for the the cement to harden forming an internal cast within the compressed bone.
Most cases take about 45 minutes with a short time following the procedure for monitoring in our recovery area. A pain prescription will be provided to assist with any post-procedure soreness, but most patients notice an immediate improvement in their severe pain upon standing to walk immediately following the procedure.
Compression fractures have previously been such a difficult problem to treat among the elderly. We can now address this issue acutely in our office to prevent progressive weakness, debility, depression, and injury from severe back pain.
Dr. Downey has been performing thoracic and lumbar kyphoplasties, in office, over the course of several years and has been very pleased with the results.