WHAT IS A COMPRESSION FRACTURE?
A compression fracture is a break in the vertebrae – the bony structures that stack like building blocks making up the framework for your spine. These fractures occur most commonly in the Thoracic Spine – mid back – and the Lumbar Spine – low back.
WHO IS AT RISK, AND WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF COMPRESSION FRACTURES?
Anyone can develop a compression fracture, however men and women with Osteoporosis are at high risk. When bone is already weakened, any force exerted upon them will result in collapse. Something as simple as an abrupt twist, a trip and fall, or even opening a window can result in fracture.
Additional risk factors and causes include:
- Trauma – such as a fall, or motor vehicle accident.
- Calcium and Vitamin D Deficiency
- Steroid Use
- Lack of exercise
- Metastatic Disease – Cancer cells can weaken the vertebrae causing them to fracture.
WHAT ARE THE TREATMENTS FOR COMPRESSION FRACTURES?
Often, compression fractures can heal on their own. At CBC we will evaluate the severity of your fracture using an X-ray image, and develop a treatment plan based on your diagnosis. Often we will prescribe pain medication, and a back brace for comfort. You will follow up with us every 2-4 weeks with new X-rays where we will evaluate the progression of the fracture and assess for adequate and timely healing.
There are times that surgical intervention is warranted. This may be based on the severity of the fracture, or it may be based on the lack of healing over time. Surgical intervention called a Kyphoplasty can be accomplished right here in our office procedure suite at Connecticut Back Center.
WHAT IS A KYPHOPLASTY?
A minimally invasive procedure that stabilizes the fractured bone within the vertebrae. This intervention enables the patient to recover faster and prevents future fractures.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE KYPHOPLASTY PROCEDURE?
You will be premedicated with oral pain medication prior to the procedure. We ask that you have a family member or friend bring you to your appointment. You will be positioned on our procedure table, and we will use local anesthesia to numb the area. Using Fluoroscopic (x-ray) guidance, Dr. Eisler will identify your fracture and insert a balloon through a small incision. The balloon is then inflated creating a cavity, then deflated and removed. The fractured vertebrae is then injected with a material called Bone Cement which acts as a cast, stabilizing the fracture. The procedure lasts about a half hour to 45 minutes.
After the procedure you will lay flat on your back for a short period of time while the cement hardens. Your vital signs will be monitored. You will then recover here in the office for 15 minutes to ½ hour and proceed home thereafter.
Risks of the procedure include but are not limited to several potential events: fat or clot embolism, retropulsed vertebral fragments, pneumothorax, pedicle fracture. You will be given post procedure instructions however, IF you develop any signs of wound infection, bleeding or hematoma, contact our office immediately.