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Fractures/Vertebral Fractures

Broken Bones

A bone may be completely fractured or partially fractured in any number of ways (cross-wise, lengthwise, in the middle). Fractures can happen in a variety of ways, but there are three common causes:

  • Trauma accounts for most fractures. For example, a fall, a motor vehicle accident or a tackle during a football game can all result in a fracture.
  • Osteoporosis also can contribute to fractures. Osteoporosis is a bone disease that results in the “thinning” of the bone. The bones become fragile and easily broken.
  • Overuse sometimes results in stress fractures. These are common among athletes.

There are five types of fractures:

  • Closed or simple fracture. The bone is broken, but the skin is not lacerated.
  • Open or compound fracture. The skin may be pierced by the bone or by a blow that breaks the skin at the time of the fracture.
  • Transverse fracture. The fracture is at right angles to the long axis of the bone.
  • Greenstick fracture. Fracture on one side of the bone, causing a bend on the other side of the bone.
  • Comminuted fracture. A fracture that results in three or more bone fragments.

Vertebral Fractures

Vertebral fractures are typically associated with osteoporosis. These spinal fractures — called vertebral compression fractures — occur in nearly 700,000 patients each year. They are almost twice as common as other fractures typically linked to osteoporosis, such as broken hips and wrists. Not all vertebral compression fractures are due to osteoporosis. But when the disease is involved, a vertebral compression fracture is often a patient’s first sign of a weakened skeleton from osteoporosis.

Cause of Vertebral Fractures

When the small bones of the spine (vertebrae) weaken from osteoporosis, they can narrow or shrink. This can lead to a rounded back, a hump or a “bent forward” look to the spine. Many people with osteoporosis also note that they are getting shorter over time.

The weakened vertebrae are at a high risk for fracture. A vertebral compression fracture occurs when too much pressure is placed on a weakened vertebra and the front of it cracks and loses height. Vertebral compression fractures are sometimes the result of a fall, although people with osteoporosis can suffer a fracture even when doing everyday things, such as reaching, twisting, coughing, and sneezing.

Symptoms of Fracture

Fractured means broken. Whether you have a complete or a partial fracture, you have a broken bone.

Procedures

Arthrodesis Fusion

Fracture Repair

Lumbar Spinal Fusion