Osteoporosis – The “Silent Disease”
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), osteoporosis affects more than 10 million Americans and can lead to bone fractures – most commonly in the hip, spine and wrist. The disease results in more than 1.5 million fractures annually, including 900,000 spine fractures, also known as vertebral compression fractures (VCFs). Osteoporosis is the most common cause of VCFs.
Osteoporosis is known as the “silent disease” because many do not know they have it until they suffer a broken bone due to a fall or accident. Osteoporosis-related disability confines patients to more immobile days in bed than stroke, heart attack or breast cancer. VCFs can lead to back pain, loss of height, deformity, immobility, increased number of bed days and even reduced pulmonary function.1
Spine Fracture Relief
For patients suffering from painful VCFs, an advanced treatment option known as Radiofrequency-Targeted Vertebral Augmentation (RF-TVA™) might be the answer.
RF-TVA is typically an outpatient procedure that usually requires only local anesthesia and a small incision to access the vertebra. Performed with the DFINE StabiliT® Vertebral Augmentation System, a small tube is placed into the fractured vertebra and a cavity is created. A bone stabilizing material commonly known as bone cement is then injected into the cavity. The bone cement is delivered slowly, allowing it to penetrate into the vertebra to fill the cavity. The bone cement hardens within minutes, and stabilizes the fracture. Typically, an adhesive bandage (e.g. Band-Aid®) is placed over the incision following treatment. The entire procedure takes 30 to 40 minutes to complete on average.
According to Bruce Zablow, MD, Director of NeuroInterventional Radiology and Co-Director of Endovascular Neurosurgery at Westchester Medical Center in New York, early diagnosis and treatment of a VCF is important because it can have a significant positive impact on the reduction of back pain and improved quality of life.
“It is important for patients to recognize the symptoms and know that they do not have to live with the debilitating pain of a spine fracture. Treatment options have evolved drastically over the years and can now provide immediate pain relief and improved quality of life,” Zablow said. “RF-TVA is an important advance in vertebral augmentation for the treatment of spinal compression fractures. It has made an important contribution to the management of the pain and the quality of life in many of my patients.”
VCFs: Recognizing the Symptoms
One or more symptoms may indicate that a spine fracture is present:
- Sudden, severe back pain
- Standing or walking worsens back pain
- Lying down provides only minor back pain relief
- Bending and twisting are difficult and painful to perform
- Loss of height
- The spine becomes deformed or curved, taking on a “hunchback” shape
During National Osteoporosis Awareness Month, and throughout the year, DFINE encourages patients to learn more about the risk of VCFs and the advanced treatment options available. For more information, please visit http://www.dfineinc.com/patient-brochure.
About DFINE, Inc.
DFINE is dedicated to relieving pain and improving the quality of life for patients suffering from vertebral pathologies through innovative, minimally invasive therapies. The company’s devices are built on an extensible radiofrequency (RF) platform that currently covers two procedural applications:
- The treatment of vertebral compression fractures (VCFs) with the StabiliT® Vertebral Augmentation System, and
- The palliative treatment of metastatic vertebral body lesions with the STAR™ Tumor Ablation System.
Both systems represent generational advancements in the minimally invasive treatment of vertebral pathologies. DFINE is based in San Jose, Calif. and is a privately held company. Stay connected with DFINE via Twitter or YouTube.
1 American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Treating vertebral compression fractures. 2010. Accessed on 4/4/2012 at http://www.aaos.org/news/aaosnow/oct10/cover1.asp