Osteoporosis of the spine can cause vertebral fractures, which occur particularly in elderly patients. The affected vertebral bodies are highly painful. The vertebrae collapse very painfully into wedge shapes, the body's height is reduced and develops the so called dowager's hump in the final stage of the disease. In the past conservative treatment was frequently exhausted with the prescription of painkillers, physiotherapy and a brace. In severe cases with lameness, invasive surgery had to be performed with multiple level fusion, which especially in the elderly is accompanied by a high risk of complications. With kyphoplasty, a minimally invasive procedure is available for the reduction for both the pain and the correction of the osteoporotic malposition. During the procedure a 3 mm needle is advanced percutaneously into the back side of the vertebral body. Then a balloon is passed through the needle and is inflated inside the vertebral body under high pressure. After the fracture has been reduced, the deflated balloon is withdrawn leaving a void inside the bone. Finally bone cement is filled into the vertebrae leading to full load stability after the cement is hardened. The procedure can be performed under local anesthesia on an outpatient basis. Our team has great experience with this surgical procedure: For more than 10 years, we have treated over 600 patients successfully.
Case illustration of an elderly female patient, who suffered from an osteoporotic fracture of the lumbar spine. Treatment consisted of Balloon Kyphoplasty.