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Treatment for osteoporotic fractures includes pain medication, external bracing, vertebroplasty and occasionally surgery.
Bracing is done to help with pain control for stable fractures or those at extremely high risk and unable to tolerate a surgical procedure safely. Pain usually improves in four to six weeks.
Vertebroplasty is used when severe pain cannot be controlled with oral pain medicine or the individual experiences loss of height in the vertebra. During vertebroplasty, a compound is injected with a needle into the compressed bone to try to stabilize the bone and improve pain. This hardens and stabilizes the fracture or collapsed vertebrae.
Vertebroplasty is generally performed at the hospital or on an outpatient basis. Many patients are discharged the same day or kept overnight for observation. Most patients experience significant pain relief within 24 hours.
Surgery is recommended if there is instability in the spine or specific findings on the neurologic exam that also show up in MRI or CT scans.
The Stanford Medicine Online Second Opinion program offers you easy access to our world-class doctors. It’s all done remotely and you don’t have to visit our hospital or one of our clinics for this service. You don’t even need to leave home!