Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Upper Spine News

Balloons for Back Bones

Every 45 seconds, someone has a fracture of the spine caused by osteoporosis. These are called vertebral compression fractures (VCFs). VCFs occur most often in adults over 65. About one million VCFs occur every year in the United States.

VCFs are very painful and cause spinal deformity. The patient can become stooped forward and lose height. The lungs and intestines have less room to function. Breathing and digestion can even be affected. A loss of independence and possibly even malnutrition can occur.

A new treatment for this problem is being studied. The doctor inserts a special tool called a bone tamp into the vertebra. The tamp has a balloon on the end that can be inflated. This helps pump up the bone to its original height. The bone tamp is then deflated and the cavity formed inside is filled with a bone cement. When the cement hardens, the vertebra is fixed in place. This method of treatment is called balloon kyphoplasty.

This treatment reduces pain and increases movement. The patient's quality of life quickly improves. Height is restored, thus improving overall health. These benefits remain the same even after a year.

Balloon kyphoplasty is a new treatment for vertebral bone fractures. It's a safe option that can quickly return older adults who've had a VCF from osteoporosis back to normal function.


Jon T. Ledlie, MD, and Mark Renfro, MD. Balloon Kyphoplasty: One-Year Outcomes in Vertebral Body Height Restoration, Chronic Pain, and Activity Levels. In Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine. January 2003. Vol. 98. No. 1. Pp. 36-42.

01/30/2003

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
All content provided by eORTHOPOD® is a registered trademark of Medical Multimedia Group, L.L.C.. Content is the sole property of Medical Multimedia Group, LLC and used herein by permission.

Our Specialties

Where Does It Hurt?

Our Locations

  Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow us on YouTube
Follow us on Twitter