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Spine Fracture

In many people, spinal fractures can occur due to many factors. These factors can sometimes be a traffic accident, and sometimes bone resorption due to osteoporosis. In any case, it is a delicate condition that needs to be treated urgently. So how do spinal fractures occur? What are the symptoms and treatment methods? Let's examine it together...


How Do Spinal Fractures Occur?

Approximately 70% of spinal fractures occur in the back and lumbar region. They can occur with situations such as accidents or injuries, or as a result of stress fractures that develop due to osteoporosis or fatigue in the bone.

They can also occur in a way that can cause a mild soft tissue trauma or spinal cord injury. In cases where the spinal cord is injured, paralysis can occur.

The most common type of fracture in spine fractures is compression fractures caused by the collapse of the anterior part of the vertebra. In burst fractures caused by the increase in the load on the spine, the spinal cord may be damaged if the pressure on the spine increases.

Burst fractures are much more likely to result in spinal cord injury and paralysis. With the increase in the load on the spine, not only the bones are broken, but also injuries to the discs, ligaments or joints can occur.

In this case, which is called fracture dislocation, spinal cord injury is also seen. Surgical intervention is usually necessary when these types of spinal fractures, which are more difficult to heal, occur.

It is possible to list the situations where spinal fractures occur frequently as follows:

  • Falling, sports or other accidents (firearm injuries, traffic accident, falling from a height, etc.),
  • spinal tumors,
  • osteoporosis

Patients between the ages of 18 and 50 constitute 80 percent of patients with spinal fractures. Men are four times more likely to have a spinal fracture than women.

Symptoms of a Spine Fracture

Symptoms of a spinal fracture may vary depending on the severity of the case. It is possible to divide these symptoms into two as early period and late period:

  • Early symptoms: Muscle spasm may develop along with pain in the neck, waist and back region. If spinal cord injury is present, symptoms such as numbness, numbness in the legs and arms, urinary or stool incontinence, and loss of strength may occur.
  • Late symptoms: If nerve injury has not occurred, severe pain may occur with the formation of curvature in the spine, that is, kyphosis. In case of nerve injury, paralysis can occur.

If there is a loss of consciousness in patients who have been traumatized for any reason and feel pain at any point of their spine, then the case is considered as a spinal fracture.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Spinal Fractures

When a spinal fracture occurs, how the patient is transported or brought to the hospital is of great importance for the patient. As a matter of fact, incorrect handling techniques can cause the patient to become paralyzed or disabled.

For this reason, it is of great importance that the patient is transported and transported to the hospital by ambulance and by expert health teams. Diagnostic methods that can be applied to determine the patient's spinal fracture and its severity are as follows:

  • Direct Radiography
  • Computed Tomography
  • MRI

With these diagnostic methods, after the location and severity of the spinal fracture are diagnosed, appropriate treatment methods are developed.

The treatment methods that can be applied are determined as follows:

  • Use of Corset and Plaster: It is preferred in compression fractures without spinal cord or soft connective tissue injury. The duration of treatment is approximately 3 months.
  • Instrumentation and Fusion: It is the process of fixing and freezing the broken spine using metal tools. It usually takes months to achieve fusion with this procedure.
  • Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty: It is a minimally invasive treatment method applied in fractures due to osteoporosis or tumor. In this procedure, which is performed under local anesthesia, small incisions are made on the skin. The fracture is tried to be corrected with small needles inserted through these cuts. Titanium cage or cement may be required to strengthen the spine.
  • Decompression: In this method, it is aimed to remove nerve damage. Tissues such as ligaments, bone or disc pressing on nerve tissues are surgically removed. After this procedure, stabilization may be required in some patients.
  • Stabilization: In this surgical procedure, screws and rods are used to fix fractures in the spine. With this procedure, patients can begin to move earlier and use physical therapy methods.

One or more of the treatment methods we have mentioned above are determined according to the condition of the spinal fracture that has occurred. Since it is a life-threatening condition, patients should start treatment immediately, without wasting time.

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