What Are Spinal Fractures?
The spine consists of 33 spinal bones. Spine fracture (vertebra fracture) may occur in any of these bones. However, 64% of spinal fractures occur in the spine bones in the lower back and back region.
Spinal fractures are most common in the T12 and L1 spine bones. Traffic accidents, motorcycle accidents, falls from height, firearm injuries, sports accidents, osteoporosis can cause spinal fractures. Osteoporosis is of great importance in such fractures.
Especially in elderly patients, osteoporosis causes fractures with the deterioration of the spongy structure of the spine bones and loss of support feature. In cancers involving the spine, the tumor located in the spine may disrupt the bone structure and cause fracture. Fracture in the spinal bone can distort the patient's posture and cause pain.
What Are the Types of Spine Fractures?
There are many different classifications of spinal fractures. Basically, fractures can be expressed as dislocations and fracture-dislocations. Fractures Fractures can occur as a result of the spinal bones being exposed to more load and pressure than they can withstand.
The most common type of spinal fracture is a compression fracture, known as a spinal compression fracture. It is most often caused by conditions such as osteoporosis (bone loss) or tumors that weaken the bones. In this type of fracture, the anterior part of the vertebra is broken and its height decreases, while the posterior part remains stable.
These types of compression fractures result in the vertebrae being wedge-shaped rather than square. In this case, a deformity in which the spine bends forward, called kyphosis, occurs. In addition, fractures can occur as a result of a vertical impact on the spine, such as falling on the feet from a very high place.
In this type of trauma, the height of both the anterior and posterior regions of the vertebrae decreases. This type of serious fracture, which causes flattening of the spine, can cause pressure on the spinal cord or nerve tissue. Dislocations As a result of excessive stretching or tearing of the ligaments and discs that connect the spinal bones, the bones of the spine can slip out of their normal alignment.
These dislocations can cause narrowing of the spinal canal and spinal cord damage. Fractured dislocations Fracture dislocations are the cases where there is a slip in the spine caused by the rupture of the ligaments along with the fracture of the vertebral bones. This type of traumatic injury usually requires surgical treatment.
What Are the Symptoms of Spinal Fractures?
Pain that appears suddenly in the waist and back region and gets worse with movement is the most common of the spinal fracture symptoms. If the broken bone is compressing the spinal cord and nerves, there may be regional numbness as well as pain. If the nerve roots or spinal cord are severely damaged due to the pressure of the broken bone, sensation, reflexes, muscle strength and movements may be affected.
Nerve damage can also cause problems such as loss of bladder and bowel control. Symptoms of spinal fractures are usually: Low back, back or neck pain exacerbated by movement, Tingling, numbness or weakness in the limbs, Muscle spasms, Bowel and bladder problems, Loss of movement in the arms and legs, Loss of consciousness-fainting in severe fractures.
It is extremely important to seek immediate medical attention, especially in severe cases of unconsciousness and loss of movement. Here, the person should be properly supported without being moved, and the emergency team should be waited for. It should not be forgotten that an unconscious movement may cause spinal cord injury and paralysis. What are the Treatment Methods for Spinal Fractures? Generally, there are two treatment options for spinal fractures: surgical and non-surgical methods. Treatment options vary according to the type and severity of the fracture. Most spinal fractures are compression and burst fractures that occur in the anterior section of the vertebrae. Fracture types and spinal cord damage are decisive for the treatment of spinal fractures. Especially in compression fractures, in patients without spinal cord injury and soft tissue-connective tissue injury, corset or plaster treatment is preferred. The aim is to heal the fracture with external fixation and to prevent further collapse of the spine and spinal cord compression and the development of humpback.
The plaster or corset period is usually 3 months. Instrumentation and fusion: It is the fixation and freezing of the broken spine using metal instruments.
This procedure can be done from the front or back of the spine, and sometimes both sides may need to be frozen. Fusion can take months to achieve. At the same time, in patients with spinal cord injury, bone fragments compressing the spinal cord can be removed during surgical intervention.
It is the treatment method of choice in burst fractures in which posterior connective tissues are injured without neurological injury, and in all other burst fractures or fractures and fracture dislocations with neurological injury.
Vertebroplasty & Kyphoplasty: It is a minimally invasive treatment method that can be applied in some selected compression fractures, osteoporosis or tumor-related fractures and some burst fractures. It can be applied under local anesthesia. It is based on placing a titanium cage and/or cement in order to fix the fracture and fix it by entering the spine with large needles through small incisions to be made on the skin.