Dawn, 58, enjoys walking on the beach and looking for seashells in her oceanfront community. It’s a relaxing way to spend her precious free time between working two jobs – as a nurse at a skilled care nursing home and as a home health care provider.
One day recently, the physical demands of Dawn’s work caught up with her.
“I was moving a tub, and I was bent down pulling the tub backwards. I’m not sure what was in it, but it was heavy. And something on the floor caused me to fall. I fell from no higher than knee high.”
Dawn knew instantly that something was wrong when she felt a pop in her back. “It was loud, and the pain was horrible.”
She left work and went home, but after two days of intense pain that wouldn’t let up, Dawn went to the emergency room. There, she had an X-ray and found she had suffered a compression fracture of her L2 vertebra.
“Being off work wasn’t really an option for me,” said Dawn, who lives alone and has chronic diabetes.
She was also concerned about taking opioid medications like Percocet, which she had been prescribed at the emergency room.
“I didn’t want to be dependent on them. I don’t like the way they make you feel anyway.”
Emergency room physicians referred Dawn to a spine surgeon. After determining that Dawn’s spinal fracture was caused by osteoporosis, her surgeon performed a minimally invasive surgical procedure called balloon kyphoplasty that uses balloons and cement in an innovative technique that has been shown to bring many patients rapid pain relief after just one hour.
Balloon kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure for the treatment of pathological fractures of the vertebral body due to osteoporosis, cancer, or benign lesion.
With her pain having gone away and her activity level improved after her balloon kyphoplasty, Dawn has begun seeing an endocrinologist to manage her osteoporosis with calcium therapy and bisphosphonate medications.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
What are the typical symptoms of a spinal fracture?
A spinal fracture may cause mild to severe back pain and can occur after simple daily activities such as sneezing or lifting a light object. You may have a vertebral compression fracture if you:
Have sudden onset of severe, sharp back pain that lasts longer than 3 days AND Are over 50 OR
Have been told you have osteoporosis or low bone density.
What are the benefits of Kyphon™ Balloon Kyphoplasty (BKP)?
Compared to non-surgical treatment like a back brace or oral medication, clinical studies have shown that people with spinal fractures treated with BKP experienced several benefits1, 7-9:
Less back pain
More quality of life
Less time on bed rest and fewer days when
pain interferes with daily activities
Satisfaction with the procedure
What are the risks of balloon kyphoplasty?
Although the complication rate for Kyphon™ Balloon Kyphoplasty is low, as with most surgical procedures, serious adverse events, some of which can be fatal, can occur, including heart attack, cardiac arrest (heart stops beating), stroke, and embolism (blood, fat, or cement that migrates to the lungs or heart). Other risks include infection; leakage of bone cement into the muscle and tissue surrounding the spinal cord and nerve injury that can, in rare instances, cause paralysis; leakage of bone cement into the blood vessels resulting in damage to the blood vessels, lungs, and/or heart. Talk to your doctor about both benefits and risks of this procedure.
1. Lau E, Ong K, Kurtz S, et al. Mortality following the diagnosis of a vertebral compression fracture in the Medicare population. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2008 Jul;90(7):1479-1486. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.G.00675.
2. Brunton S, Carmichael B, Gold D, et al. Vertebral compression fractures in primary care: recommendations from a consensus panel. J Fam Pract. 2005;54(9):781-788.
3. Vedantam R. Management of osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures: a review. Am J Clin Med. 2009;6(4):14-18.
4. Ross PD. Clinical consequences of vertebral fractures. Am J Med. 1997;103(2A):30S-43S.
5. Gold DT. The clinical impact of vertebral fractures: quality of life in women with osteoporosis. Bone. 1996;18(3 Suppl):185S- 189S. Review. (Historical information on epidemiology of spinal osteoporosis and QOL. Medtronic comment, March 2013).
6. Silverman SL. The clinical consequences of vertebral compression fracture. Bone. 1992;13 Suppl 2:S27-S31. (Historical disease state information on vertebral compression fractures. Medtronic comment, March 2013).
7. Wardlaw D, Cummings SR, Van Meirhaeghe J, et al. Efficacy and safety of balloon kyphoplasty compared with non-surgical care for vertebral compression fracture (FREE): a randomised controlled trial. Lancet. 2009;373(9668):1016-1024.
8. Boonen S, Van Meirhaeghe J, Bastian L, et al. Balloon kyphoplasty for the treatment of acute vertebral compression fractures: 2-year results from a randomized trial. J Bone Miner Res. 2011;26(7):1627-1637.
9. Van Meirhaeghe J, Bastian L, Boonen S, et al. A randomized trial of balloon kyphoplasty and nonsurgical management for treating acute vertebral compression fractures: vertebral body kyphosis correction and surgical parameters. Spine. 2013;38(12),971-983.