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Osteoporosis: New surgical method for the spine

Exercise keeps bones healthy - for a strong back.
Photo: Yuri Arcurs -

Help with heavy bone loss

The vernacular calls the disease something charmless "widow hunchback", because it mainly affects older women. A novel bone cement can help sufferers now.

Strong and yet flexible - these are the outstanding characteristics of our skeleton. A healthy bone can withstand just about any strain. For a lifetime he supports the body - actually. Because as you get older, the bones can change as well. Especially menopausal women often suffer from a disease that erodes the structure of the bones: osteoporosis .

In Germany alone, there are more than eight million affected people. The disease can basically infect any bone. But if it hits the vertebral bodies in the back, it can have dramatic consequences.

Because under the constant stress that is exposed to our back, the vertebral bodies can simply collapse. Then nerves are pinched and a stabbing pain passes through the patient. If this happens, only the spine surgeon can help. He can deliberately bring filling material into the porous bone, so erect it and consolidate it.

The procedure is called "radiofrequency kyphoplasty". It is even possible under local anesthesia. The doctor introduces a small cannula into the diseased vertebra. He then places passages in the porous bone with a fine moving instrument. Later, a viscous substance, the so-called bone cement, is injected into these channels.

What is new is that this cement is previously irradiated with a certain energy. This makes the filler even tougher than it already is, and ensures that the cement arrives only where it is supposed to go. For so far, there has always been the danger that such filling material will leak out of the bone and damage intervertebral discs or adjacent vertebrae.

The new version of this surgical method also takes only half as long as the previous one. As a rule, the procedure is completed after only half an hour and the patients feel relief of their pain very quickly. More and more clinics in Germany offer this new procedure. The costs are covered by the statutory health insurance.

But before that happens, vulnerable women should take countermeasures. Responsible for osteoporosis are disorders in the metabolism of the bones. The substance breaks down faster than it builds up. Support your body in bone formation with balanced nutrition. Above all, it needs calcium and vitamin D. Both are in dairy products such as cheese or yoghurt. They should be on the menu every day.

On the other hand, avoid using phosphated foods. These are, for example, coke, sausage and meat. Phosphate damages the bone. What helps him, on the other hand, is movement. Because only when tendons and muscles pull on the bone, his metabolism is stimulated.

Therefore, light strength training is also much better for osteoporosis prevention than pure endurance sports. So how about a few exercises with light dumbbells? Your bones will thank you.

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