minimally invasive, outpatient treatment options for spine fractures
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What is a spine fracture?
A spine fracture, or vertebral compression fracture, occurs when one of the bones within the spinal column weakens and collapses. They can be a cause of great pain and if left untreated, can lead to more serious health problems and/or permanent deformity.
What causes spine fractures?
Of the nearly one million spine fractures diagnosed each year in the United States, osteoporosis is most often the cause. Women over 50 are at high risk for osteoporosis, and Caucasian and Asian women are at a higher risk than other ethnicities.
Osteoporosis is a disease that affects one’s bone density, so those with this condition can easily develop spinal fractures. Sometimes, spine fractures can occur in patients on steroid therapy, in patients with bone metastasis in the spine or multiple myeloma, or in accident victims.
Unfortunately, studies have shown that individuals with a spine fracture are at a much higher risk of developing additional fractures, reduced lung function, difficulty controlling the bladder or bowels, decreased quality of life, and even death.
What treatment options for spine fractures?
Traditionally, back braces, pain medications, and bed rest have been methods of treating spine fractures. However, they do not address the root cause of the problem or provide lasting pain relief.
Our new and minimally invasive treatment options for spine fractures use imaging guidance to repair the fracture and, in many cases, restore height to the vertebrae. These procedures are performed on an outpatient basis and provide immediate relief of pain and other symptoms. Depending on the case, a patient may undergo Kyphoplasty, SpineJack, or Vertebroplasty as their vertebral augmentation procedure.
Kyphoplasty (also called balloon kyphoplasty) is a procedure designed to both restore height to the vertebra and repair the fracture. During the procedure, a type of modified cannula is placed directly in the fracture. A balloon is then inserted and inflated to correct the loss of height within the collapsed vertebra. The cavity made by the balloon is then filled with fast-drying bone cement. The vast majority of patients have reported that kyphoplasty provides immediate pain relief and has improved their quality of life.
Like kyphoplasty, this procedure is designed to both repair the fractured vertebra and restore its height. Instead of a balloon, however, this procedure uses a titanium device, similar to a tiny car jack, implanted permanently into the spine to expand the collapsed disc and align the spine. Once the vertebra is expanded, special fast-drying bone cement is added, which forms around the implant and hardens. Most patients experience immediate pain relief and restored vertebral height with a very low risk of complications1.
Vertebroplasty is a procedure for stabilizing compression fractures in the spine. The interventional radiologist uses imaging to guide a needle into the compression fracture. Once in place, a special type of bone cement is injected into the fractured vertebra. The cement hardens, stabilizing and strengthening the bone. Vertebroplasty is safe and effective, producing lasting results in a short amount of time.
How do I know if I have a spine fracture?
Only your doctor can properly diagnose a spine fracture with the assistance of diagnostic imaging. However, some of the more common symptoms include:
• Back pain, and possibly additional pain in the hip, abdomen, or thigh
• Numbness, tingling, and weakness
• Loss of height/hunched appearance
• Difficulty breathing
• Urinary incontinence
If you are experiencing these symptoms, talk with your doctor. If you have been diagnosed with a spine fracture and would like to learn more, call us at 817.321.0951, or fill out our Request a Consultation form by clicking the button below. We would love to connect with you and share more about how we can care for you.
- England, Ryan W. et al.Clinical outcomes and safety of the SpineJack vertebral augmentation system for the treatment of vertebral compression fractures in a United States patient population Journal of Clinical Neuroscience 89(5):237-242 July 2021.