"Balloon" Technique Helps Mend Spine Fractures, Relieves Pain in Patients with Osteoporosis


Vol. 12, No. 1
March, 2002

  • Winthrop-University Hospital Comes Out on Top of Joint Commission Accreditation of Healthcare Organization's 2001 Survey

  • Winthrop's Todd J. Cohen, MD Implants Hospital's First Patient with New Device to Treat Congestive Heart Failure

  • Winthrop-University Hospital First on L.I. to Perform Cardiac Surgery Without Stitches

  • Winthrop-University Hospital's New PET Imaging Center Opens, Offers Greater Hope to Cancer Patients

  • Winthrop-University Hospital First on Long Island to Use New Fetal Oxygen Sensor During Labor and Delivery

  • Winthrop's New Breast Imaging & Diagnostic Suite - "One Stop Shop" for Women

  • Promising New Treatments on Horizon for Parkinson's Disease

  • Winthrop-University Hospital is First in New York Metro Area to Pioneer New Communication System for Hearing-Impaired Patients

  • Winthrop Pediatricians Turn Literary for Kids

  • "Nursing Home Without Walls" Gives Elderly and Disabled Independence in Their Own Home

  • "Balloon" Technique Helps Mend Spine Fractures, Relieves Pain in Patients with Osteoporosis

  • Long Island Poison & Drug Information Center at Winthrop Stresses Prevention to Avoid Accidental Poisonings

  • Winthrop Awarded $1.1 Million Grant from New York State

  • AT&T Employees Tee Off to Help Children at Winthrop's Cancer Center for Kids

  • Citibank Gives Hope to Children at Winthrop-University Hospital's Cancer Center For Kids in Form of a $10,000 Donation

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  • Orlando Ortiz, MD, MBA, Chairman of the Department of Radiology at Winthrop examines X-rays of a patient's fractured spine before and after treatment with the KyphX Balloon tamp.
    Osteoporosis has become a major health problem for the more than 28 million Americans living with the disease that causes brittle, weak bones and loss of bone mass. Eight million American women and two million men have osteoporosis, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation and millions more have low bone density. Osteoporosis is also one of the leading causes of bone fractures, including hips, wrist and vertebral, affecting millions of Americans each year.

    It is estimated that the disease is responsible for close to 700,000 vertebral fractures annually. Fortunately, there is a procedure to treat painful fractures of the spine caused by osteoporosis. Orlando Ortiz, MD, MBA, Chairman of the Department of Radiology in Winthrop's Interventional Neuroradiology Suite, performs the technique called kyphoplasty or "Balloons for Bones," which utilizes a device called the KyphX Inflatable Bone Tamp (balloon) to treat vertebral compression fractures (VCF). VCF's, most commonly caused by osteoporosis, occur when a bone in the spine breaks and collapses.

    The minimally invasive fracture reduction procedure is done through a small incision in the damaged bone, which creates a pathway for the balloon to be inserted. The balloon is inflated to raise the collapsed portion of the bone and then deflated and removed, leaving a cavity that can then be filled with acrylic bone cement.

    In addition to kyphoplasty, Dr. Ortiz performs another procedure called vertebroplasty, which entails the placement of a bone needle into the compressed vertebral body using imaging guidance with an X-ray machine. Acrylic bone cement is injected through the needle into the vertebral body, stabilizing the fractured vertebrae, relieving pain and preventing further collapse and deformity.

    The procedure restored Santina Coscia's quality of life and she couldn't be happier. Three years ago, after a car accident, her back problems had been mounting. After unsuccessful chiropractic treatment, Ms. Coscia began her extensive research on other treatments that could relieve her pain. After months of searching, one of her doctors recommended that she see Dr. Ortiz about vertebroplasty. She had her first treatment by Dr. Ortiz on February 7th with two others following and one more treatment to go.

    "Immediately after each treatment, I felt great," said Ms. Coscia. "The procedure is amazing. I actually grew two inches in height because my spine is now straight. I feel no pain at all and as soon as I came off of the operating table I was raring to go. I'm very happy with the results. It has greatly improved my quality of life."

    "Vertebroplasty has an 85% to 90% success rate with respect to pain relief in patients with recent osteoporotic compression fractures," explained Dr. Ortiz. "More recently, kyphoplasty has also achieved a high success rate in alleviating pain associated with VCF's."

    Jane Moore, RN, MSN, CCRC, Nurse Specialist in the Bone Mineral Research Center at Winthrop agrees, adding, "one of the major advantages of the procedures is almost immediate pain relief."

    For more information on kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty, call the Department of Radiology at Winthrop at 516-663-2123.



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