The SpineJack® System for Treating VCF

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An osteoporotic vertebral compression fracture (VCF) is when a bone in your back, or vertebrae, breaks. It is most commonly caused by osteoporosis, which is a disease in which bones become fragile and more likely to break. A VCF can cause severe back pain and lead to kyphosis, which is a curving of the spine that leads to a hunchback or slouching posture.

In the past, treatment for VCFs were primarily focused on pain management. But new technology enables doctors to not only alleviate pain, but also restore the integrity of the spine and help prevent other vertebrae from fracturing.

The SpineJack® System

GW Hospital was the first in the U.S. to use the SpineJack® system. During this procedure, two "jacks" are inserted into the vertebrae through a guidewire entered through a small incision in the back. The jacks are then expanded to reduce the size of the fracture and restore the vertebrae to its normal position. Cement is then injected into the fracture to stabilize it.

In previous surgical methods, a balloon was inserted and expanded, but the balloon had to be removed prior to injecting the cement, which allowed the fracture to slightly compress again. With the SpineJack® system, the fracture does not compress because the jacks remain expanded while the cement is injected. This enables doctors to restore the compression deformity and reduce stress on surrounding vertebrae, which decreases pain, decreases the chances of a fracture in another vertebrae, and minimizes the chance of dependency on opioids to relieve pain.

After the SpineJack® procedure is performed, patients can typically leave the hospital within one hour of surgery and can return to their normal activities immediately.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the GW Spine and Pain Center at 202-715-4599.