Elderly Women and Spine Fractures,Osteoporotic Fracture
Hormonal Changes in women after the age of 45 make them prone to Osteoporosis Fracture, which can lead to a spine fracture even after a minor trauma such as coughing or sneezing or a fall in the bathroom.
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis means reduced bone mineral density (especially Calcium), thus making them hollow, weak and prone to breaking. Diagnosing non-specific bone pain, especially in the legs is the main symptom of osteoporosis, which can be diagnosed by X-ray or DEXA scan. Low Vitamin D levels in blood and a sedentary lifestyle also promote osteoporosis fracture.
What is the treatment?
Adequate Calcium and Vitamin-D supplementation, Regular exercise, a healthy lifestyle, good exposure to sun and treatment under medical supersession like Bisphosphonates, Teriparatide, Denosumab or Calcitonin can treat Osteoporotic Fracture.
What happens in an Osteoporotic Fracture?
There are severe pain and tenderness and the person is unable to sit, stand or walk. Occasionally, there can be a neurological deficit (limb weakness).
How do we treat this?
Immediate treatment includes pain killers and bed rest. Although an X-ray can diagnose a fracture, an MRI should be done to know the age of osteoporosis fracture and any nerve compression. Vertebroplasty or Kyphoplasty can be done if there is no nerve compression. If there is a fracture, along with nerve or spinal cord compression, decompression and fixation are required with cement augmented screws and rods.
What is Vertebroplasty or Kyphoplasty?
This percutaneous method injects bone cement into the fractured bone (vertebra) to strengthen it. It is done in the operation theatre under mild sedation and local anesthesia and can treat more than one level simultaneously. A one level procedure takes about 30 minutes. In Kyphoplasty we additionally use an inflatable balloon to increase the height of the fractured vertebra.
There is a dramatic relief in the pain after this. The patient is discharged within 24 hours of the procedure and can walk a day later.
Is surgery safe?
Yes, With modern gadgets and technologies, spine surgery in elderly women is safe and the results are good.