Degenerative Arthritis Compression Fractures Of The Spine Bone

Vertebral compression fractures may occur with major trauma, such as a motorcycle accident, or with something as insignificant as a sneeze, or stepping off of a curb. With a compression fracture, the bone compressed and collapses into itself, similar to squeezing a Styrofoam peanut between your fingers.

How much force it takes to lead to a compression fracture, depends on the quality of the bone. Elderly women with osteoporosis have frail, thin bones. These are easily crushed. But even the young strong bone of an 18 year old, will collapse if sufficient force is applied. These fractures may likewise be caused by metastatic disease, and multiple myeloma. This can weaken the bone to the extent that it simply collapses.

Degenerative arthritis compression fractures of the spine bone

A large majority of such fractures are termed wedge fractures. This refers to the shape of the fractured vertebra. The anterior, or front portion of the vertebra, is compressed, and the posterior or back portion maintains its height. But in some cases, when sufficient force is applied, the entire vertebra is flattened.

Compression fractures cause the sudden severe pain and disability. The compression fracture itself will generally cause only back pain, focused at the view of the fracture. Occasionally, when fracture fragments are forced out of place and begin pressing on nerves, there may be buttock and lower extremity pain as well.

Spinal Arthritis: This is one of the single causes of spinal stenosis. There are arthritic changes which come about and cause nerve compression. The most common changes include bone spurs, calcification of the spinal ligaments, degeneration of the spinal disc, etc. All of them cause narrowing of the spine and in turn, nerve compression.

Hereditary: If the spinal cord was too small at birth, the spine may further narrow at a relatively young age as well. There can be structural deformities of the vertebrae. This can cause narrowing of the spinal canal.

Trauma: Accidents or injuries may dislocate the spine and the spinal canal or cause fractures, due to which fragments of bone penetrate the spinal canal. This may finally lead to spine-related problems.

Spinal Tumors: Abnormal growth of soft tissue may impact the spinal canal causing inflammation, where the growth could take place in the spinal canal itself. The growth of tissue causes bone loss or movement of the bone. It further leads to failure of the supporting part of the spinal column.

Age: Due to aging, the tough connecting tissues between the clappers in the spine, thicken. There can also be bone spurs or increase in the spinal canal. Age may also cause the padding between the vertebrae, to deteriorate. All these factors cause spinal stenosis.

Paget Disease of the Bone: Bone is a living tissue. This is continuously in the operation of renewal. The body generates new bone at a faster pace than normal due to Paget disease. This leads to soft and weak bones. These are prone to fractures. It may also create bones that may be deformed or abnormally large.

People often had complications with pneumonia, loss of muscle, and blood clots. In many cases, even though the fracture would heal, people were never able to get back to regular activity.

In 1998 the first kyphoplasty was performed. This new procedure has been shown to reset the height of the vertebra, and quickly stabilize the fracture. There is about an immediate reduction in pain making it possible to mobilize patients the day after surgery. Braces or body casts are not usually necessary.

This surgery is performed thru a tiny 1/2 inch incision. A large needle is threaded precisely into the center of the damaged vertebra, using flouroscopic x-ray guidance. Then a balloon is inserted and inflated in the center of the fracture. This pushes the fracture fragments back out to their original position, re-establishing the size of the vertebra, and correcting any deformity.

When the surgeon is happy with the shape and height of the vertebra, the balloon is deflated and withdrawn. The void that is left is then filled with methyl methacrylate. This is the same bone cement that is used to glue prosthetic joint replacements in place. Within minutes this hardens and immediately stabilizes the fracture fragments.

Most people are up the next day. If their pain isn’t completely resolved, is greatly improved. They are generally able to go back to their normal activities in a matter of a few weeks.

There are risks with any surgery, but kyphoplasty is minimally invasive and the risks are deemed to be very low. It is indicated that in up to 10% of cases some methyl methacrylate will extrude out of the vertebra. In most cases this is harmless and doesn’t cause any problems. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons reports that in a case in 10, 000 this cement may damage or irritate nerves or the spinal cord. A second surgery may be necessary to remove the excess cement.

The benefits of this procedure are that it greatly shortens the time of pain and disability that people with compression fractures are forced to endure. Because people are mobilized the day after surgery, it greatly reduces the likelihood of complications associated with prolonged bed rest.

When comparing the risks and benefits of using kyphoplasty to treat a vertebral compression fracture. The benefits seem to outweigh the risks. This procedure may be worth considering.

Vertebral compression fractures may occur with major trauma, such as a motorcycle accident, or with something as insignificant as a sneeze, or stepping off of a curb. With a compression fracture, the bone compressed and collapses into itself, similar to squeezing a styrofoam peanut between your fingers.

How much force it takes to lead to a compression fracture, depends on the quality of the bone. Elderly women with osteoporosis have frail, thin bones, that are easily crushed. But even the young strong bone of an 18 year old, will collapse if sufficient force is applied. These fractures may also be caused by metastatic disease, and multiple myeloma. This can weaken the bone to the extent that it simply collapses.

A large majority of such fractures are termed wedge fractures. This refers to the shape of the fractured vertebra. The anterior, or front portion of the vertebra, is compressed, and the posterior or back portion maintains its height. But is some cases, when sufficient force is applied, the entire vertebra is flattened.

Compression fractures cause the sudden severe pain and disability. The compression fracture itself will generally cause only back pain, focused at the view of the fracture. Occassionally, when fracture fragments are forced out of place and begin pressing on nerves, there may be buttock and lower extemity pain as well.

Historically, the treatment for these fractures has been bedrest, and pain medication. Depending on how stable the fracture was thought to be, sometimes a brace or body cast would be added. Young people were most likely to survive the duration of immobility. In the elderly population, with multiple medical problems, there was a high level of mortality from the immobilization. People often had complications with pneumonia, loss of muscle, and blood clots. In many cases, even though the fracture would heal, people were never able to get back to regular activity.

In 1998 the first kyphoplasty was performed. This new procedure has been shown to reset the height of the vertebra, and quickly stabilize the fracture. There is almost an immediate reduction in pain makeing it possible to mobilize patients the day after surgery. Braces or body casts are generally not neccessary.

The benefits of this procedure are that it greatly shortens the time of pain and disability that people with compression fractures are forced to endure. Because people are mobilized the day after surgery, it greatly reduces the likelihood of complications associated with prolonged bedrest.