• Osteoporosis

    What Is Osteoporosis?

    Osteoporosis, or porous bone, is a disease characterized by low bone mass and structural deterioration of bone tissue. This condition leads to severe back pain, bone fragility and an increased susceptibility to fractures of the hip, spine and wrist, although any bone is vulnerable. Osteoporosis accounts for more than 1 million fractures annually in the United States. 

    Could I Be at Risk for Developing Osteoporosis?

    Postmenopausal women are more likely than men to develop osteoporosis, although elderly men are also at risk. Genetic factors play a role in the development of osteoporosis among certain ethnic groups. Family history, early menopause, small bone structure and slender physique, and decreased weight-bearing activity are all factors that can increase one's risk.

    Additional factors that can contribute to the development of osteoporosis include:

    • Low calcium intake in the diet
    • Cigarette smoking
    • Alcohol abuse
    • Certain medications, such as prednisone and Dilantin
    • Metabolic disorders, such as Paget's disease and hyperparathyroidism

    If you have significant risk factors for osteoporosis, your Lahey health care provider may order a bone density test to measure your bone mass and determine whether or not you have the disease.

    What Are the Current Treatments for Osteoporosis?

     Treatment recommendations for osteoporosis include maintaining a regular weight-bearing exercise program, such as walking or aerobics, and ensuring adequate calcium and vitamin D intake. Eliminating smoking and excessive alcohol intake can also be helpful. Postmenopausal women diagnosed with osteoporosis should consider going on hormone replacement therapy and seek treatment for any associated endocrine disorders. Testosterone replacement therapy may be recommended for men who have low testosterone.

    Osteoporosis can also be treated with medications that increase bone mass, such as diphosphonates and calcitonin. These types of medications are sold under the prescription drug names

    • Fosamax
    • Didronel
    • Miacalcin nasal spray
    • Actonel
    • Zometa

    Cutting-edge treatment modalities allow Lahey physicians to offer new hope to previously undiagnosed or undertreated patients with osteoporosis. We provide state-of-the-art diagnostics with bone density testing, as well as serum and urine markers of bone metabolism. By combining patient education with hormonal treatment counseling and innovative nonhormonal therapies, we can increase bone density, reduce the risk of fracture and improve the quality of life for patients with this very common but often silent condition. 

    What Is Vertebroplasty?

    The spinal column is composed of multiple bones called vertebrae that can break or collapse when affected by a disease such as osteoporosis. Vertebroplasty is an innovative method of repairing spinal fractures by injecting medical cement into the fracture site. The injected cement hardens and stabilizes the fracture, thereby improving or relieving back pain, decreasing medication usage and increasing patient mobility.

    Lahey's exceptional personnel, using state-of-the-art equipment such as a digital biplane fluoroscopy system (X-ray machine) and a dedicated portable CT scanner, ensure a greater degree of safety and efficacy for patients undergoing this procedure. The success rate is also remarkable: In 90 percent of cases, patients have experienced immediate or nearly immediate pain relief.

    The Vertebroplasty Clinic: A Multidisciplinary Approach

    The treatment of compression fractures at Lahey requires the interaction of multiple medical disciplines. Patients considering vertebroplasty should make an appointment with Lahey's Vertebroplasty Clinic for a thorough exam and diagnosis.

    Typically, an endocrinologist will examine you in the morning and order any necessary tests (e.g., MRI). Members of the Interventional Neuroradiology and Orthopaedic Surgery teams will then review your records and examine your test results. If you are a suitable candidate for vertebroplasty, you will be scheduled for the procedure with one of our interventional neuroradiologists.

    The Vertebroplasty Clinic is open on Wednesdays by appointment. To schedule a visit, please contact the Interventional Neuroradiology Department at 781-744-3330.

    Further information about osteoporosis 

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