Treatment for Spinal Fractures:
Many fractures heal with conservative treatment. If there are no severe symptoms, surgery may not be needed. Instead, patients can wear braces to help stabilize the spine. Braces help maintain spinal alignment, immobilize the spine during healing and control pain. The type of brace worn is determined by the location of the fracture. Typically, braces are worn about 8-12 weeks.
However severe fractures may require surgery to realign the spine. If a fracture is causing symptoms—especially if the symptoms are severe, such as bone fragments pressing on the spinal cord or nerve roots—a neurosurgeon will need to surgically repair the spine.
In severe cases, a surgical procedure called surgical fixation is used. Surgical fixation involves specific techniques: instrumentation and fusion. Fusion means to join; in cases of spinal fracture, it means to join the fracture vertebrae with a bone graft and metal hardware. The goal is to join the vertebrae to create one solid bone, which may take several months.
In some cases, spine surgeons can perform a minimally invasive surgery called kyphoplasty. This procedure involves re-expanding the vertebrae and strengthening them by injecting bone cement. Sometimes, a neurosurgeon can cement the vertebrae without re-expanding the fracture; this procedure is called vertebroplasty.
Treatment for spinal fractures will depend on each patient’s case and the severity and location of the fracture.
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