Patients suffer vertebral compression fractures when their bones become too fragile. VCF complications may include impaired gait, disability, reduced lung function, early satiety, future fracture risk and mortality. The National Osteoporosis Foundation reports a vertebral fracture occurs every 22 seconds globally, and about two-thirds of VCFs are initially asymptomatic and under-diagnosed.
Older women, especially, are at great risk of developing VCFs. A 2015, 12-year study compared hospitalizations for osteoporotic fractures in women 55 years and older to hospitalizations for other conditions. The study discovered 4.9 million hospitalizations for osteoporotic fractures in women, more than the hospitalizations for myocardial infarction, stroke or breast cancer.
Patients with VCFs have a variety of treatment options, including non-surgical management, balloon kyphoplasty (BKP) and vertebroplasty. Non-surgical management often involves bracing patients and prescribing opiods for pain management.
Non-surgical management in the elderly population poses a particularly challenging healing environment, because if you give them enough time, they will form fibrosis in the fracture, but if their bone quality is that bad, they have no innate ability to heal themselves. And adding narcotics into the mix presents a "recipe for disaster" for the elderly, as the medication will make them "loopy" and at risk of losing their balance.
Drug reliance can be a problem
Opioids play a major role in non-surgical management of VCFs, so many providers seek alternative treatment methods to combat the opioid epidemic sweeping the nation.
There must alternative forms of therapy for patients. And it is imperative these alternative treatment options catch the condition early. The addictive potential of opioids poses a critical reason for the importance of early detection of VCFs.
There are many benefits to treating early. A quick procedure with low morbidity and low risk that yields a high benefit of getting people out of the hospital, mobilized and off their narcotics quicker is a necessity.
That's where procedure-based pain management techniques, such as balloon kyphoplasty, come in.
How balloon kyphoplasty stacks up against non-surgical management
Balloon kyphoplasty is an augmentation procedure designed to stabilize the spine.
Balloon kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure for the treatment of pathological fractures of the vertebral body due to osteoporosis, cancer or benign lesion. Cancer includes multiple myeloma and metastatic lesions, including those arising from breast or lung, or lymphoma. Benign lesions include hemangioma and giant cell tumor.
Surgeons mechanically treat a fracture by inserting and inflating a balloon to create an open cavity inside the bone for injecting bone cement. Surgeons insert a controlled amount of Kyphon bone cement into the cavity, which creates an internal cast to stabilize the fracture.
The reason doctors want to do more balloon kyphoplasty is because evidence shows patients have much better pain relief short- and long-term and rewduce the amount of opioid use. Pain is the number one reason people seek medical care, so we need a viable procedurebased option to treat pain.
Balloon Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure designed to repair spinal fractures. More than 15,000 physicians have undergone balloon kyphoplasty training worldwide and treated more than 1 million fractures with the procedure.
Pain relief has certainly been obsovered across numerous studies, finding statistically and clinically significant pain reductions from baseline observed early from week one that persisted through 12 months or 24 months.
For more information on Balloon Kyphoplasty, contact Comprehensive Pain Management in South Kingstown, RI.
Source: Becker Spine Review