Vertebral Fracture

Understanding Vertebral Fracture

If you suddenly develop back pain that won’t go away, you may have a vertebral fracture. This is especially true if you are over the age of 50. Fortunately, many injuries leading to vertebral fractures do not require surgery. However, major fractures can cause ongoing problems unless they are treated quickly and effectively.

At Jackson Neurosurgery Clinic, we treat vertebral fractures that include painful compression fractures in patients with osteoporosis and burst fractures that follow a fall or auto accident. You may have only mild pain in the beginning or if this fracture is not that severe. In fact, some patients with vertebral fractures report feeling no back pain!

Still others experience deformities after multiple fractures compromise their spinal vertebrae. This may be the first indication of fractures caused by osteoporosis. Learn more about the symptoms of vertebral fracture so that you can get treatment as quickly as possible for this condition.

What Are the Symptoms of Vertebral Fractures?

These fractures cause mild to severe pain. Often, the pain worsens with movements and in extreme cases can cause weakness, muscle spasms, tingling, numbness and even paralysis. If you feel extreme pain after routine daily activities such as bending over or twisting your torso to reach for an object, seek medical assistance to avoid more severe damage

Diagnosing Vertebral Fractures

Dr. Lewis typically orders an x-ray to determine the location and severity of a suspected vertebral fracture in the neck or back. After the x-ray, you may also need a CT scan or other imaging technology that can help the doctor evaluate the damage to your spine and determine the best possible course of treatment. For example, an MRI can show damage to ligaments, soft tissues, and the spinal cord.

How is a Vertebral Fracture Treated?

We often treat fractures with immobilization techniques such as using a brace. Bracing the spinal column can reduce pain and maintain the shape of the spinal cord until the injury heals. This process can take up to 12 weeks and may impact your mobility for the duration of the treatment.

During this time, you may have to return to our office in Flowood, MS, so Dr. Lewis can make sure you’re healing as expected.

Surgical Treatment Options

There are two main types of surgery that can help patients with vertebral fractures, vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty.

  • Vertebroplasty: During this procedure, Dr. Lewis inserts a catheter into the vertebra and uses it to place bone cement where it can stabilize the spinal column. This process can eliminate pain and help you recover your mobility more quickly. This prevents extreme bone loss that can sometimes occur during bed rest.
  • Kyphoplasty: This procedure consists of using a tube and x-ray guidance to insert a bone tamp. Under Dr. Lewis’ skilled touch, this procedure only requires a small incision. Inflating the tamp restores the vertebra and helps you reclaim lost height. Bone cement is used to seal cavities and cracks to prevent further issues. Once the cement has been installed, the inflatable tube is removed.

Plates, screws, and hardware also have their place in replacing bones with severe vertebral fractures and breaks.

Contact the Jackson Neurosurgery Clinic today to learn more about vertebral fractures and other spinal challenges. Call us at (601) 366-1011. We’ll find a solution that works for you.