What is an Osteoporosis-Related Fracture?

Osteoporosis causes bones to be brittle and fragile, even bones in your back call vertebrae. Post-menopausal women are often diagnosed with osteoporosis due to hormonal changes.

What Are Symptoms of an Osteoporosis-Related Fracture?

Patients may experience sudden, intense pain and may not even know they have a fracture until this pain is felt. Some symptoms include:

  • Difficulty standing
  • Chest or back pain
  • General slowness or stiffness when sitting or standing

If you have symptoms of osteoporosis-related fractures, book an appointment online with Prof. Pier Paolo Maria Menchetti at UPMC Salvator Mundi International Hospital for a diagnosis and treatment options.

How Do You Diagnose Osteoporosis-Related Fractures?

Your spine specialist may order an MRI to diagnose an osteoporosis fracture. This imaging allows the doctor to determine new fractures from older ones.

What Are Treatment Options for Osteoporosis-Related Fractures?

Osteoporosis-related fractures are often treated with bed rest for three weeks. You may need to wear a back brace for 2-4 months. During the first weeks following the fracture, the vertebrae may deform or crush. The back brace will help prevent this to some degree, but the spine specialist may recommend a vertebroplasty or a kyphoplasty to prevent further damage.

  • Vertebroplasty – In this procedure, the surgeon injects acrylic cement (the same cement used for hip or knee implants) into the vertebra to strengthen the bone. The insertion of thin plastic strips with cement is another option, among others.
  • Kyphoplasty – In this procedure, the spine surgeon will use radiological guidance to move a needle to the site of the fracture and once at the fracture, inflate a small balloon into the vertebrae to create more space for the spinal nerves. Cement is then injected into the space to further strengthen the vertebrae and prevent future collapse.

Both methods are recommended for fractures no older than four months, with the presence of swelling that is likely causing pain. These procedures cannot be used in older fractures because surgeons will be unable to inject an adequate amount of cement to strengthen the vertebrae.

The goal of these procedures is pain reduction. The degree to which pain is reduced will depend on how quickly the condition is diagnosed and the amount of cement that can be injected into the vertebrae to strengthen it.

Spine Center at UPMC Salvator Mundi International Hospital

The Spine Center at UPMC Salvator Mundi International Hospital is an innovative and multispecialty center for the diagnosis and treatment of spine disorders and diseases. For a diagnosis and treatment options, book an appointment online today with Prof. Pier Paolo Maria Menchetti.