Stabilizing That Fractured Vertebra

Most issues that lead to chronic pain with your spine arise from either the cervical spine (neck), the C1-C7 vertebrae, or the lumbar spine (lower back), L1-L5 vertebrae. But osteoporosis can affect the thoracic spine. This is the middle of your back, vertebrae T1-T12, and this is where spinal compression fractures are more common.

Dr. Trujillo may use kyphoplasty to treat these compression fractures.

What causes a compression fracture in your back?

Osteoporosis, the condition that causes your bones to lose density, makes your bones more and more brittle. People with osteoporosis are far more likely than the rest of the population to have a compression fracture. These are the risk factors for a compression fracture:

  • Women, especially those who have gone through menopause
  • Older men, particularly those over age 60
  • People who suffer from calcium deficiency

Other causes can be physical trauma to the back, as in a car wreck; tumors; or rare infections of the vertebra.

What is kyphoplasty?

When a person suffers from a spinal compression fracture, it can be almost impossible to move freely. The bone fragments can rub against each other Pain can be severe.

In kyphoplasty, the goal is to insert bone cement into the compressed vertebra to return strength to the bone. These are outpatient procedures that Dr. Trujillo can perform right in our Show Lo offices.

Here’s how it is done:

  1. Trujillo inserts a hollow needle (trocar) into your skin. With the aid of fluoroscopy, a type of x-ray, he guides the needle through your muscles and into the correct position in your vertebra.
  2. He then inserts an inflatable balloon into the trocar, and the balloon is inflated. This returns space to your collapsed vertebra. Now the balloon is deflated and removed. Because you are lying down, the space created remains.
  3. Now bone cement is injected through the trocar into the space created by the balloon. The x-ray shows if the mixture is distributed properly. The cement fully hardens in about 10 minutes.
  4. The needle is then removed, and a bandage is applied.

With a single vertebra, the procedure takes less than an hour.

If you have osteoporosis, there is a real risk of a spinal compression fracture. Dr. Trujillo can help if that happens through the use of kyphoplasty. If you have questions or would like to set up an appointment, please call us at (855) 768-4968.

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