Vertebroplasty & Kyphoplasty – cement repair ……… no honestly

Vertebroplasty & Kyphoplasty – cement repair ……… no honestly

Fractures of vertebra occur far more commonly than we think. Sometimes it can be related to trauma, a car or bike crash for instance. It can also occur in old age simply as a result of degenerative change. However Osteoporotic changes account for the vast majority of cases. Osteoporosis is an imbalance between the taking away of old bone cells and the laying down of new ones.

As a vertebral body is under constant compression weight bearing, the inside of the bone can fracture and worse case scenario cause vertebral collapse. Previously, treatment would be rest, time and possibly a back brace. Now, we can inject cement into the fractured vertebra through small minimally invasive incisions into the skin under xray guidance. It sets in about 7 minutes and can give immediate pain relief.

Vertebroplasty (- plasty means molding, formation, surgical repair) is the straight forwards injection into a structurally stable vertebra. On occasions where the vertebra has collapsed, a balloon is first inserted into the vertebra, inflated and then the cement is pumped in. In this way, the collapse is reversed. This is called Kyphoplasty. How cool is that?

I believe we will be facing a situation when current 40-60 year olds reach their 80s and 90s, they will tend to have good healthy bodily systems (ie cardio-vascular, respiratory etc). Unfortunately, I don’t think their skeletal systems will be up to the job. I can see both Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty being the norm!!

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