Osteoporosis

X ray of the neck and showing a rigid 'bamboo spine'
Fig. 20: Vertebroplasty procedure. Cement is being injected into the vertebra.

Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by reduced bone mineral density. This leads to frailty of the bones and an increased susceptibility to fracture.

The condition itself is not painful. It is only painful when a fracture has occurred. The spine is often affected by osteoporosis and can lead to a stooped posture and loss of height. The best treatment is prevention.

Surgery is occasionally required in osteoporosis. Vertebroplasty, the injection of bone cement into a vertebra, is a fairly new procedure. It has been shown to be safe and may be useful in a small proportion of injuries. Kyphoplasty is a more elaborate procedure and involves the fashioning of a cavity within the damaged bone before injection of the cement.

Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are "keyhole procedures". The surgery is performed through tiny incisions. The patient is allowed to mobilise within hours of the operation. Pain relief can be dramatic.

We specialise in assessment and diagnosis of spinal complaints with appropriate conservative treatment, planning surgery only when all other options have been exhausted.