Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center - Health Library

Surgical Procedures for Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is usually treated with medicines and certain lifestyle changes. Surgery may be advised when a broken bone needs to be fixed.

Repairing Broken Bones

This procedure will return a broken bone to its proper place. There are 2 types:

  • Open reduction—This method is used if the bone is fragmented or difficult to repair. It requires screws, pins, rods, or a plate to hold it in place. The doctor makes a cut in the skin covering the break to expose the bone fragments. The bones are moved into their normal place. The screws, pins, rods, or plates are added for support. Extreme breaks may need a natural or artificial bone graft.
  • Closed reduction—The doctor moves the bones into their normal place. Then, a cast or splint will hold them in place. The skin isn’t cut.

Later, doctor may use x-rays to make sure the bone is in the proper place.

Most bones need about 6 weeks to heal. Some bones take longer. Work with your healthcare team and physical therapist to find exercises that will help you recover faster.

Vertebroplasty and Balloon Kyphoplasty

Osteoporosis puts you at a greater risk of having a vertebral compression fracture. This happens in the bones of the back. The front parts of the spinal column are most affected. These breaks cause intense pain and disability. They can be treated with:

  • Vertebroplasty—An acrylic cement is injected into a broken and collapsed spinal bone. The cement strengthens the bone. It also helps ease pain.
  • Balloon kyphoplasty—A tiny drill is used to make an opening in the bone. A special balloon is passed through. The balloon is inflated to open the space and fix the injured area. Then, acrylic cement is injected into the space. This will help keep the correction in place.
REFERENCES:

Osteoporosis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113815/Osteoporosis. Updated February 1, 2018. Accessed June 26, 2018.

Osteoporosis and spinal fractures. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeonswebsite. Available at: https://www.orthoinfo.org/en/diseases--conditions/osteoporosis-and-spinal-fractures. Updated January 2016. Accessed May 19, 2016.

Percutaneous vertebroplasty and percutaneous balloon kyphoplasty for treating osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.Available at: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/TA279. Reviewed January 2016.

Last reviewed June 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcie L. Sidman, MD  Last Updated: 6/26/2018