A primary care practitioner can help improve quality of life and mobility for those who suffer from pain resulting from osteoporosis-related fractures by referring a patient for two relatively new non-invasive procedures.
An article published recently in the Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners reviews the pathophysiology of osteoporosis and describes how these new treatments - vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty - are being used to treat the pain associated with vertebral compression fractures.
Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty is the process whereby bone cement is injected into the fractured vertebral body. This injection prevents the fractured bone from moving and stabilizes the fracture, which provides relief from pain. Kyphoplasty utilizes the inflation of a balloon to raise the compressed bone before the cement is injected and can provide partial correction of the deformity in the fractured bone.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that 44 million Americans over 50 have osteopenia/osteoporosis; 80% of sufferers are women. Direct and indirect cost in 2002 amounted to 17 billion dollars with projected costs for the year 2030 at greater than 60 billion.