A spinal fracture is often a result of external force applied to the spine that is more than it can handle. This results in a type of fracture called a compression fracture. Patients who have suffered a fall, been injured in a vehicular accident, or participate in high-impact sports are among the most commonly treated for spinal fractures. Osteoporosis also predisposes a person to this type of injury. In fact, vertebral fractures are an early sign of the disease.
Compression fractures are small fractures that form on the front part of the spinal column that can cause the vertebrae to collapse and shorten the spine. Spinal fractures can pose a danger, in that the fragments of bone can pinch the spinal cord and nerves. Therefore, it is considered a serious orthopedic injury.
Treating Spinal Fractures
Most of the time, immobilization with a brace for several months can help relieve pain and encourage healing of the fracture. In some cases, surgery may be necessary. There are two types of procedures surgeons commonly use to treat spinal fractures: vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty. Both are minimally invasive and performed with a hollow needle that’s guided by a type of X-ray called fluoroscopy. Both are outpatient procedures that allow the patients to return home on the same day to start their recovery.
Painful compression fractures, evidence of deformity, and limited function are special considerations for surgery. Only patients with pain and other symptoms due to vertebral fractures are good candidates for these procedures.
In vertebroplasty, the surgeon injects bone cement into the fractured vertebra until it has been completely filled. Once the cement hardens, it will provide stabilization to the vertebral column. Vertebroplasty can reduce pain and allow the patient to return to their daily activities.
Kyphoplasty is similar to vertebroplasty, except it involves the use of a balloon (balloon vertebroplasty), which is inserted into the space created by the fracture and then inflated. The purpose of this is to restore the vertebra’s normal height before filling the space with bone cement. The surgeon uses X-rays to ensure the cement is going into the right place.
Studies show kyphoplasty produces far superior results in terms of pain and function. While vertebroplasty can restore patient function, pain may still linger for some patients. This is likely because the vertebra is returned to normal height before filling the fracture with cement.
Spinal Surgeon in Aurora, CO
The neurosurgeons at Front Range Spine and Neurosurgery specialize in diagnosing and treating patients with spinal fractures. We are a leader in minimally invasive spine surgery and regularly perform vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty. We will discuss which treatment option is best for you. We want our patients to be informed and empowered to make choices in their healthcare.spin
To schedule a consultation with one of our neurosurgeons, call us at (303) 790-1800 or use our online appointment request form. For your convenience, we have four locations in Colorado: Lone Tree, Parker, Colorado Springs, and Aurora. We look forward to helping improve your symptoms through advanced spine treatments.