Banner Health Services  

Can anything help a spinal compression fracture?

Dr. James Hawkins  

James Hawkins, MD, is a board-certified spinal surgeon on staff at Banner Estrella Medical Center.

Question: My grandmother has constant pain and cannot do her normal activities due to a compression fracture from osteoporosis of her spine. What can be done to help her?

Answer: In the past, the most doctors could offer a patient such as your grandmother was a back brace, pain medicines and the hope that the pain may get better with time. Now, there are other options that can provide an almost pain-free life.

Kyphoplasty is a new minimally-invasive procedure used to eliminate the pain of a compression fracture and to help people return to normal activities. With kyphoplasty, two small incisions are made in the skin over the broken bone, through which tubes similar to stirring straws are inserted into the center of the bone. 

Through these thin tubes, small balloons are inserted and then inflated within the compressed bone to restore its height. These balloons are then removed and bone cement is injected into the created space to solidify the broken bone and restore its strength. Most patients undergoing kyphoplasty have immediate relief and some go home from the hospital the same day.

Of course, these are only two of the ways back pain can be treated. Talk to you physician today and discuss your pain. Don’t hesitate to ask to see a spine specialist to talk about your options. 

Page Last Modified: 02/22/2010
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