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Spinal Compression Fractures

Osteoporosis can lead to spinal compression fractures, also known as vertebral compression fractures, or VCFs. Hairline fractures can form in the vertebrae and add up, causing a vertebra to collapse. VCFs can cause severe pain, deformity, and loss of height, and can occur as the result of simple daily activities like bending to lift an object, missing a step while walking, or even coughing or sneezing.

These compression fractures typically occur in the front of the vertebrae, and when enough of them happen, the front part of the bone can collapse. The back of the vertebra, which is made of harder bone, stays intact, creating a wedge-shaped vertebra that can lead to the stooped posture known as dowager’s hump. This condition is called kyphosis.

Vertebra fractures can be treated with a kyphoplasty in Phoenix, Arizona. During this vertebral augmentation surgery, an Abrazo Neuroscience physician inserts a needle into the spine bone through the skin, and then guides it to the affected area using X-ray images. A device called a balloon tamp is passed through the needle and into the fractured vertebra, and the balloon is then inflated to help restore the height of the vertebrae. The balloon tamp is then removed, leaving behind a cavity that is injected with acrylic bone cement to prevent it from collapsing again.

Most kyphoplasty patients can return home the same day as their procedure and go back to their normal daily activities with no restrictions. There may be some soreness at the needle insertion site, but this shouldn’t last longer than a few days.