Today is World Osteoporosis Day. The author talks about a new treatment option for spine fractures.

As more and more women fall prey to osteoporosis, the incidence of incapacitating spinal fractures are also on the rise. With Balloon Kyphoplasty, which is a Minimal Access Spine Technology (MAST), spine fractures can be treated effectively.

Osteoporosis is the most common type of bone disease in women after menopause (age 45 and above) and is characterised by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue, leading to fragility and a consequent increase in risk of fractures.

The natural phenomenon of bone degeneration is compounded by a low-calcium diet, less exposure to sunlight, smoking, excessive alcohol intake, menopause, age, long-term use of corticosteroids, family history, and lack of physical activity.

Osteoporosis fractures are a major cause of morbidity and disability, especially in older people. Women suffering from osteoporosis can fracture any bone, sustaining injuries to practically any body part, but spine fractures are most common.

Medicines and supplements to treat osteoporosis can help prevent future fractures, but  bones that have already collapsed cannot be fully mended. However, medical technology has found a convenient treatment of spinal fractures: Balloon Kyphoplasty. It’s a minimally invasive procedure named because orthopaedic balloons used to lift the fractured bone and return it to the correct position. Pre-procedure preparation includes simple diagnostic tests such as X-ray to determine the precise location of the fracture. Balloon Kyphoplasty takes about an hour per fracture.

According to a PubMed study, this procedure can be successfully applied to any patient with vertebral fractures as a result of osteoporosis. Balloon Kyphoplasty can significantly reduce back pain and repair the broken bone of a spinal fracture. It causes less tissue damage and therefore minimal scars, less blood loss, shorter hospital stays and faster recovery.

It won’t be entirely unfair to say that osteoporosis is a ‘lifestyle disease’ which can be kept at bay by maintaining a healthy body weight, being physically active, adequate calcium and vitamin D intake and increased consumption of fruits and vegetables. Considering women’s natural vulnerability to osteoporosis, it is important that they take extra care through preventive measures as well as novel treatments to improve the quality of life.

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