Spinal fractures also known as vertebral fractures, are common. These are breaks in the spine bones (vertebrae) where compression causes the vertebral body of the bone to collapse when too much pressure is placed upon it. This might happen if the bones have weakened due to osteoporosis, trauma, tumours and medical treatments for other conditions.
Diagnosis of spine fractures
A spine specialist will ask questions about the symptoms, perform a physical examination and organise some imaging tests such as x-ray, MRI scan or a DEXA bone scan.
Treatment of spine fractures
Spine fracture treatment will aim to reduce the pain and stabilise the break to allow it to heal. Non-surgical treatment may be suitable; using pain relief medication, back braces, targeted exercises and in some instances, bed rest is advised.
Surgical treatment may be needed and minimally invasive spinal surgery can be performed. Balloon kyphoplasty is a procedure that involves inserting a deflated balloon into the spine. It is then inflated and expands to restore vertebral height and reduce deformity.
After this has been performed the balloon can be deflated and removed so that another surgical procedure called vertebroplasty can take place, where bone cement is injected into the broken vertebra. The cement quickly sets and stabilises the fracture to relieve the symptoms and prevent further collapse.
These procedures are done as a day case but some patients prefer to stay overnight.