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Alpine Physical Therapy
Three Locations
In North, South, and Downtown Missoula
Missoula, MT 59804
Ph: 406-251-2323
Fax: 406-251-2999

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Solid Results with New Cement for Osteoporotic Spine Fractures

Posted on: 11/19/2002
Even simple movements can cause sudden bone fractures in people with osteoporosis. Men and women can both have this condition, although women are affected most often. Osteoporosis is a condition in the aging adult that causes the bones to become brittle.

One area most likely to fracture is the spine. These fractures are called vertebral compression fractures (VCFs). VCFs can be cause a downward spiral of bone health. The bone loses bone material and density. This in turn causes weakness and deformity.

The patient starts to lose height as the bone gets pressed down. Posture commonly becomes more stooped. This puts more pressure on the bones of the spine. The final result can be a VCF.

A new cement can be used to repair these fractures. It's called calcium phosphate cement (CPC). CPC is injected into the fractured bone. It acts as a substitute for the injured bone. Once inside the vertebra, it hardens. The body absorbs the cement and slowly replaces it with bone tissue. Patients are placed in a cast after the surgery and have to rest during the period of bone formation. Surprisingly, the fractured bone actually gets stronger than nearby bone without CPC.

CPC can be used to prevent bone collapse in the treatment of VCF caused by osteoporosis. In this study, pain relief was immediate with the treatment. The procedure helped with alignment of the spine, too. These results show continued promise for patients who have severe pain after a spinal fracture due to osteoporosis.

Masato Nakano, MD, PhD, et al. Percutaneous Transpedicular Vertebroplasty With Calcium Phosphate Cement in the Treatment of Osteoporotic Vertebral Compression and Burst Fractures. In Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine. October 2002. Vol. 97. No. 3. Pp. 287-293.

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