The Geriatric Spine Syndrome: Treatment, Osteoporotic Form

By | June 21, 2011

In addition to the scoliosis, osteoporosis and chondrocalicinosis, notice the Inferior Vena Cava Filter and the Left Iliac Artery Endoprosthesis. While her days as a marthon runner are clearly past, this woman lives alone, drives her car, plays cards with her friends and is active in the life of her community.

Advanced therapy for the osteoporotic form of the Geriatric Spine Syndrome is one of the most difficult problems in modern medicine. With the aging of the American population the syndrome is becoming more and more common and no really good treatment exists.


Surgery except in cases of severe nerve compression is usually not successful or warranted. Kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty are not indicated because of the widespread nature and severity of the disease. In many cases the bone is not even strong enough to hold the cement and cement migration can cause problems that are worse than what we started with.


Neuromodulation is often moderately effective, especially for axial symptoms, with pumps producing better results than stimulators. When severe radicular symptoms appear, repeat neurosurgical consultation and in some cases selective nerve root blocks may be necessary to rule out the presence of severe, yet anatomically confined disease that may be surgically correctable.


By far the best form of treatment for the osteoporotic form of the Geriatric Spine Syndrome is prevention. Early treatment of the osteoporosis and stabilization of the first vertebral compression fracture may prevent a downward spiral from which recovery is unlikely.


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