Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Digg Question: Spinal Fracture

We received this question from a Digg user:

My mother got a compression fraction of a lumbar vertebrae last July. She has constant pain but was told there is no treatment. She is 92. She also has 2 old vertebral compression fractures. Would she be a candidate for spinoplasty?

If her doctor thinks her pain is due to the fractures, then yes, she is a candidate for fixation. We routinely perform vertebroplasty, kyphoplasty and even spinoplasty in patients over 100. This can be done even if the patient has severe medical disease, such as heart disease, stroke or diabetes. This is a significant advantage of these procedures because they do not require general anesthesia like major surgery does.

The interesting part of the question is spinoplasty. In experienced hands, spinoplasty is effective, however, it is not currently performed by many doctors. Personally, I performed the first spinoplasty in Tulsa. However, I have lately done more cement procedures because they cost the patient less and are essentially 100% effective at taking away pain.
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