What is Spinal Compression Fracture?
The vast majority of spinal compression fractures are due to osteoporosis. They are typically found in elderly patients and more commonly in women than men as more women have osteoporosis. However, many elderly males also have osteoporotic compression fractures. They can also be associated with cancers of the spine or cancers that have spread to the spine (although this is less common). The fractures can range from minimally painful to excruciating. Fractures can result from a fall or other trauma, however, in patients with severe osteoporosis it may be due to bending, twisting, or picking something up.
An X-ray, CT scan or MRI will typically show compression of one or more of the vertebral bodies of the spine. MRI is typically the most useful because it can help determine the age of the fracture. In patients who cannot undergo an MRI and there is a question regarding the age of a fracture, then a nuclear medicine bone scan may be ordered.
- Sudden onset of back pain
- An increase of pain intensity while standing or walking
- A decrease in pain intensity while lying on the back
- Limited spinal mobility
- Eventual height loss
- Eventual deformity and disability
How is Spinal Compression Fracture treated?
After imaging diagnosis and clinic consultation, we will discuss your options for treatment depending on the symptoms and severity. Kyphoplasty is the most common treatment for this condition.
What is Kyphoplasty?
Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure where medical grade “bone cement” is injected into fractures of the spine to prevent worsening compression of the spine and relieve back pain.
Using X-ray guidance a needle is advanced through the skin into the vertebral body. Through the needle, a balloon is inserted and inflated to restore lost height of the bone. Cement is then injected into the cavity the balloon has created to stabilize the fracture.
These procedures are done with moderate sedation at our facility. Recovery time is minimal.