Cervical fracture fixation refers to a procedure in which a portion of cervical spine is immobilized to heal fractures. Fractured vertebras are common, particularly with patients who suffer from osteoporosis. However, there are other causes that can fracture vertebra as well. Regardless of the cause, though, fixation is necessary to allow healing and pain relief. If you suffer from cervical vertebra factures, contact Dr. Chetan Patel at AdventHealth Medical Group Spine Health to discuss your options. Call Call407-303-5452 to make a consultation appointment.
What Causes Vertebral Fractures?
Vertebral fractures are common, particularly with patients who suffer from bone loss created by osteoporosis. As bone density decreases, vertebra can fracture, causing pain and difficulty moving. However, bone loss is not the only cause of fracturing in the spine. Other causes include:
- Auto Accidents – In an auto accident, the spine is put under extreme pressure and/or tension. This is particularly true if the individual is only wearing a lap belt. The whipping motion associated with front or rear collisions can easily fracture vertebra.
- Falls – Falls from heights are also leading causes of vertebral fractures. These are often seen in patients who fall but land on their feet, as the spine compresses with the force of impact, fracturing the vertebra. Patients falling and landing on their backs or sides can also fracture vertebra, as well.
- Sports – Sports injuries are akin to auto accidents in terms of the effects they have on the human spine. In worst-case scenarios, these can lead to fractured vertebras in the cervical spine.
How Does Fracture Fixation Work?
There are several options open to surgeons performing cervical fracture fixation for a patient. Two of the most common are kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty. While similar, these procedures do work in different ways.
- Kyphoplasty is a procedure used to repair compression fractures in vertebra. In this scenario, a balloon is inserted in the spine to create a gap. Then, the surgeon uses a hollow needle to inject a special type of acrylic cement. The cement bonds with the vertebra and closes the fractures.
- Vertebroplasty is very similar, but the surgeon does not create a gap with the balloon. Instead, Dr. Chetan Patel will use a hollow needle and special imaging technology. The imaging system guides Dr. Patel in inserting the needle. Once the needle is in the proper location, the same acrylic cement is applied to the fractured vertebra.
Fixation with Hardware
While acrylic cement has significant benefits, some patients will do better with the installation of hardware for fracture fixation. In this scenario, the surgeon will create a small incision and then use laparoscopic equipment to install screws and plates in order to stabilize the fractured area. This usually involves spinal fusion, as well as the removal of at least a portion of the fractured vertebra (corpectomy).
For more information about cervical fracture fixation, relief from chronic leg or back pain, or other spinal surgical procedures, contact Dr. Chetan Patel at AdventHealth Medical Group Spine Health. To make an appointment for a consultation, call Call407-303-5452.