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Spinal Fractures and Trauma

The Rochester Regional Health Spine and Pain Center offers evaluation and treatment services for spinal fractures. Learn more about the types of spinal fractures, possible causes, and how our expert team evaluates and treats this condition below.

If you experience weakness, sensory loss, or a loss of bowel or bladder control, this is an emergency, and you should contact your physician immediately or go to the emergency room. 

What are Spinal Fractures?

Even minor falls or trauma can produce a spine fracture. Many of these injuries do not require surgery, but minor fractures can result in serious, long-term problems unless treated promptly and properly. Spine fractures range from painful compression fractures - often seen after minor trauma in osteoporotic patients - to more severe injuries such as burst fractures and fracture-dislocations that occur following automotive accidents or falls. These severe injuries infrequently result in spinal instability, with a high risk of spinal cord injury and pain. 

Causes of Spinal Fractures

When an external force is applied to the spine, such as a fall from height, the forces may exceed the ability of the bone to support the load. This may cause the front part of the vertebral body to crush, resulting in compression fracture. If the entire vertebral column breaks, it results in a burst fracture.

If your compression is mild, you will experience only mild pain and minimal deformity. If the compression is severe, affecting the spinal cord or the nerve roots, you will experience severe pain and a hunched-forward deformity. 

Spinal Fracture Treatment

Talk with Rochester Regional Health Spine and Pain Center doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options may include the following:

  • Medical treatment - most fractures are treated with immobilization in a brace or corset for up to 12 weeks. Bracing helps reduce pain and prevent deformity.
    • Kyphoplasty - where Spine and Pain Center interventional radiologists use a technology to re-expand the vertebral body and augment its strength by injecting bone cement. This can be done as an outpatient procedure in a minimally-invasive fashion.
    • Vertebroplasty - in this procedure, the surgeon inserts a catheter into the compressed vertebra. Vertebroplasty can help alleviate fracture pain, and enables a rapid return to mobility. It does not, however, correct the actual spinal deformity.
  • Surgical treatment - severe spinal fractures may require surgery. Should surgery be the best option for you, our providers will discuss it with you in detail. 

Follow-Up Spinal Fracture Care

Your prognosis for recovery following a spinal fracture is very good - most people respond well to treatment. Successful long-term treatment will involve effort and changes in your lifestyle, occupation, or activities. In addition, improving your health through weight loss and/or exercise is usually an encouraged aspect of treatment. 

To learn more or to make an appointment, call (585) 723-7705.

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