Monday, March 17, 2008
An X-ray guided injection of
synthetic bone cement into fractured pelvic bones may provide rapid and safe
pain relief to osteoporosis patients with low back pain, according to a new multicenter
Approximately 25 million Americans – predominantly women 50
years of age and older -- suffer from osteoporosis, the leading cause of sacral
insufficiency fractures (SIFs). Bone fractures are common in individuals with
osteoporosis due to decreased bone mineralization and mass. During the first
year following an osteoporotic fracture, 75 percent of women do not receive adequate treatment due to a variety of reasons, including lack of
The research team, including spine
and rehabilitation specialists from the Virginia
Commonwealth University School of Medicine, Advanced Pain Management and
Spine Specialists in Florida, and the OrthoCarolina Spine Center in North Carolina, evaluated the
efficacy and safety of a technique called sacroplasty, a percutaneous injection
of synthetic bone cement into sacral fractures, in 52 patients with SIFs. The
study, published in the March-April issue of The Spine Journal,
represents the largest prospective trial of sacroplasty for osteoporosis SIFs.
"Our findings demonstrate that a
technique similar to what has been performed for painful spinal osteoporotic
fractures is equally effective for osteoporotic pelvic fractures," said Michael DePalma, M.D., associate
professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in the VCU School
of Medicine, who led the team at VCU.
results are very encouraging in that patients typically experience rapid and
significant improvement in low back pain and reduction in disability and narcotic
pain medication utilization," he added.
According to DePalma, who
is the medical director of the VCU Spine Center,
the technique allows the patient to participate in physical therapy much sooner
than those who have not undergone treatment. Additionally, pharmacologic and
dietary treatment options for the osteoporosis may also be addressed following
Moving forward, the team will
examine patients to more clearly determine the incidence of side effects.
Additionally, they will further refine the technique to better understand the
biomechanics of the osteoporotic pelvis.
The VCU Spine Center offers a multidisciplinary
comprehensive team approach to the management of patients with all spine
ailments and chronic painful conditions. It addresses surgical, pain management
and rehabilitation needs for these patients aiming to restore appropriate level
DePalma collaborated with Michael E. Frey, M.D., the corresponding author on
the study, and Jonathan S. Daitch, M.D., with Advanced Pain Management and
Spine Specialists; David X. Cifu, M.D., and William Carne, Ph.D., with the VCU
Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation; and Sarjoo M. Bhagia, M.D., with the
OrthoCarolina Spine Center.
About the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center
The Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center is one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers and stands alone as the most comprehensive academic medical center in Central Virginia. The medical center includes the 865-bed MCV Hospitals and outpatient clinics, MCV Physicians -- a 600-physician-faculty group practice, and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University. The VCU Medical Center, through its VCU Health System, offers state-of-the-art care in more than 200 specialty areas, many of national and international note, including organ transplantation, head and spinal cord trauma, burn healing and cancer treatment. The VCU Medical Center is the site for the region’s only Level 1 Trauma Center. As a leader in healthcare research, the VCU Medical Center offers patients the opportunity to choose to participate in programs that advance evolving treatment, such as those sponsored by the National Cancer Institute through VCU’s Massey Cancer Center, Virginia’s first NCI-designated cancer center. The VCU Medical Center’s academic mission is supported by VCU’s health sciences schools of medicine, allied health, dentistry, pharmacy and nursing.