Spinal injections of an acrylic cement mend fractures linked to osteoporosis without the need for surgery. Researchers at the University of California have been looking at the effect of a new treatment for vertebral fractures in 90 elderly patients with osteoporosis. They injected an acrylic cement into the affected area - a procedure formerly done during surgery. Two weeks later, many patients reported substantial improvements - less pain, better sleep and more mobility.
A few patients did experience relapses of pain, while three developed a pulmonary embolism - a blockage in the lung area - caused by the cement moving beyond the area of the spine.But overall, the new treatment appears to be safe and effective. It's possible that the technique may be extended towards preventing vertebral fractures in the future. The cement can provide support for weakened vertebrae before they actually break, say the researchers.