Spine fractures can be acute emergencies but are more often a complication of having osteoporosis, a disease that makes your bones weak and easy to break. Ayad Agha, MD, of IYA Medical in Scottsdale, Arizona, is an experienced interventional radiologist who can treat osteoporotic spine fractures using minimally invasive procedures. If you’re in pain because of compression fractures in your spine, call IYA Medical today or book an appointment online.
Spine fractures are breaks and cracks in the vertebrae that make up your spine. There are two main types of spine fractures.
An acute spinal fracture might happen if you have a serious fall from a height, or you’re in an auto accident. These types of traumas can cause burst fractures, which could leave bone shards in your spinal canal and surrounding tissues, and fracture-dislocations.
The other type of spine fracture is the compression fracture, which is far more common.
Compression fractures in the spine typically affect patients who have osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease where your bones lose their density and become weak and brittle.
Having weak, brittle bones makes you more vulnerable to fractures, and if your osteoporosis is severe, the vertebrae might fracture under very little pressure.
Compression fractures cause the vertebrae to squash and flatten. Wedge fractures are the most common type of compression fracture.
They’re called wedge fractures as only the front of your vertebra flattens. People who have advanced osteoporosis typically have the dowager’s hump, which is a result of wedge fractures causing the spine to curve.
A crush fracture squashes and flattens the whole vertebra.
If you have a severe, acute injury like a burst fracture or fracture-dislocation, you’re likely to need emergency surgery to stop stray bone fragments from causing damage to your spinal cord.
If you have osteoporosis and suffer a compression fracture, it’s not usually an emergency in the way an acute burst fracture would be. However, compression fractures can be challenging to treat because of the poor quality of your bones.
In the initial stages of having a compression fracture, your treatment is likely to be conservative and noninvasive, consisting of:
If the compression fracture doesn’t improve, your provider can discuss surgical options with you.
Surgery for wedge fractures aims to restore height to your vertebrae. IYA Medical uses two techniques to achieve this:
Vertebroplasty is a minimally invasive procedure. Your provider injects a special kind of bone cement into the affected vertebra that stabilizes the bone and reduces pain.
Kyphoplasty is a similar procedure to vertebroplasty, with an extra stage. With kyphoplasty, your provider inserts a special medical balloon into your vertebra and inflates it. The inflated balloon restores height to the vertebra before they injects the special cement.
To find out more about spine fractures and the latest treatments, call IYA Medical today, or book an appointment online.