Spine Fractures

Figure: Multiple fractures in the spine with a fracture dislocation
Spine fractures can occur in the neck (cervical spine), mid back (thoracic spine) and lower back (lumbar spine). Sometimes, a patient may have fractures at multiple areas of the spine.
Spine fractures can occur after an injury such as a fall or a traumatic event such as a road traffic accident. They can sometimes happen after a seemingly trivial incident if the bone is weakened (eg. from osteoporosis or infiltration by a tumour). Fractures can also be of different degrees of severity with mild compression to a burst fracture and even sometimes fracture dislocation. Spinal cord or nerve injury adds to the severity of the injury.
Simple spine fractures often heal without causing problems. Sometimes a brace is required while the fracture is healing. If non-operative measures fail and the pain is ongoing and severe from a spine fracture, cement injection (vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty) may sometimes be done in suitable patients. In other cases, minimally invasive surgery of the spine may be done to stabilise the fracture with screws. In very severe cases where the spinal cord or nerves are pressed, surgery of the spine may involve decompressing (freeing) the affected nerves.