Spinal Fractures & Broken Back Surgery
A broken back (also known as spinal fractures) may be a serious injury, and a consultation with a spinal fracture specialist should be sought as soon as possible.
Broken spines often result from high-velocity accidents, such as car accidents or falls. However, even minor trauma or normal activity can cause spine fractures in patients with weakened bones due to osteoporosis. This is why back fracture treatments often involve bone fortification supplements such as calcium and vitamin D.
Depending on the nature of the injury, spinal fractures can range from minimal to severe. Compression fractures, where the front portion of the vertebra is crushed and the back is unharmed, are common and relatively stable. More severe burst fractures involve crushing of the entire vertebra, causing it to lose height. A vertebra may also be completely dislocated, often from high-impact car accidents or falls, which can cause serious spinal cord compression and nerve damage. The primary symptom of spinal fractures is back pain. Additional symptoms may include numbness, weakness, and bowel and bladder dysfunction.
The appropriate spinal fracture treatment is determined based on the type and severity of the injury, as well as the individual patient’s needs. Most moderate fractures may be treated by immobilizing the back with a brace for up to 12 weeks, which stabilizes the back, minimizes movements that cause pain, and allows the spine to heal. Pain medication and rehabilitative activities may also be used.
In severe cases with painful and non-healing spinal fractures, Dr. Brisson may consider back fracture surgery. In cases of fracture-dislocation, a more serious injury with high risk of spinal cord damage, surgery to stabilize the spine may be required. This type of surgery uses titanium screws, rods, and plates to hold the spine in place. Your injury and overall health will be evaluated to pinpoint the most suitable procedure.