Understanding the problem
Spinal fractures occur when the bones in your spine, called vertebrae, break and collapse. They can happen due to trauma or injury, such as experiencing a bad fall or car accident. Spinal fractures may also be caused by simple movements like coughing or sneezing if your vertebrae have become weak and brittle from osteoporosis or cancer.
Understanding who suffers
Every year more than a million people suffer from different kinds of spinal fracture; vertebral compression fractures are the most common type. Spinal fractures are twice as common as hip fractures and three times more common than breast cancer.
Car accidents (45%), falls (20%), sports (15%), acts of violence (15%), and miscellaneous activities (5%) are the primary causes of spinal fractures. Diseases such as osteoporosis and spine tumors also contribute to fractures.
80% of patients are aged 18-25 years; Men are 4 times more likely to have a traumatic spinal fracture than women. Postmenopausal women with osteoporosis are at risk from osteoporosis-related spinal fracture.
Potential Signs and Symptoms
Symptoms of a spinal fracture can include sudden onset back pain lasting longer than a few days, especially in people who have or at risk of having osteoporosis or low bone mass.
A fracture of the thoracic or lumbar spine causes moderate to severe back pain that is worsened with movement.
If the spinal cord is involved, the patient may experience bowel/bladder dysfunction along with numbness, tingling, or weakness in the limbs.
Examinations Usually Required
Depending on the injury, doctors will perform a relevant physical examination.
Standard radiographs have been the recommended initial imaging study of choice:
- X-rays to view the bony vertebrae in the spine and whether any of them show fractures.
- Special flexion and extension x-rays may be taken to detect any abnormal movement.
- Computed Tomography (CT) scan – especially useful for viewing changes in bony structures.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) – is more details. Unlike an X-ray, nerves and discs are clearly visible. MRI is useful in evaluating soft tissue damage to the ligaments and discs, and assessing spinal cord injury.
Proposing Treatment and Why AIMIS
Treatment options surrounding fracture of the thoracic or lumbar spine will depend on the particular fracture and its pattern (FLEXION from vertebral compression fractures or axial burst type fracture where vertebrae breaks , EXTENSION – vertebrae is literally pulled apart, or ROTATION – from extreme rotation,) will depend of the type of surgery required.
Our expert will evaluate the spinal fracture pattern and decide whether spine surgery is needed. If osteoporosis or osteopenia is the reason for the spinal fracture a complete assessment will be undertaken to assess risks.
AIMIS provides extremely specialist technologies in its various surgical options depending on an individual’s problem and include:
- Minimally Invasive Stabilization Surgery
- Ballon Kyphoplasty
- KIVA Kyphoplasty
- Hybrid Surgery
- ALIF or Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion
- XLIF Lumbar Corpectomy
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Reputable and Prestigious Surgeons
AIMIS’ skilled team of neurosurgeons, orthopaedic surgeons and ancillary professionals has one of the leading experiences in the world for treating fractures of the spine. Our full team are consulted with each case to find the most suitable experienced doctor for the patient’s exact issue, to ensure the maximum potential outcome of treatment.
Getting More Information Before Moving Forward
You may have questions like:
- Can I get more information before I commit to this?
- Can I get a second opinion from you before I commit to this?
- How can I find out the cost before I have any obligation?
What AIMIS Can do:
AIMIS will provide a full review, diagnosis and potential surgical options for your condition, after receiving the relevant examinations and information from you. They will also provide an estimate for your surgical procedure before you decide.
AIMIS’ mission is to the provision of “true” healthcare for those who require it. It provides world leading surgeons using state of the art procedures to optimize potential surgical outcomes, whilst taking care of all arrangements so as to allow concentration on recovery.
AIMIS provide competitive prices for state of the art procedures. We also work with a large range of Insurance companies where your policy allows you to have surgery abroad.
Further information on the problem:
Stable and Unstable Fractures
Stable fractures don’t cause spinal deformity or neurologic (nerve) problems. With a stable fracture, the spine can still carry and distribute weight pretty well (not as well as if there weren’t a fracture, but it’s still able to function with a stable fracture).
Unstable fractures make it difficult for the spine to carry and distribute weight. Unstable fractures have a chance of progressing and causing further damage. They may also cause spinal deformity.
Major and Minor Fractures
Minor fracture means a part of the posterior (back side) elements of the vertebra has broken—parts of the spine that are not as important to spinal column stability, or stability at the fractured level. The posterior elements include the spinous process and the facet joints (also called the articular processes). If the fracture is in this part of the vertebrae, it’s usually not too serious.
Major fracture means that part of the vertebral body, the pedicles, or the lamina has fractured. Fracturing the vertebral body is considered major because it helps carry so much weight and distribute the force of ones movements. If it’s broken, it can have serious problems with the vertebrae lining up correctly. Fracturing the pedicles or lamina is dangerous because of the increased possibility of nerve damage. Additionally, the pedicles and lamina provide a lot of necessary support to keep the spine stable. If they fracture, the spine may be unstable.
Further Information on Increased Risk Groups
While bone loss can affect anyone, there are certain risk factors that may make you more susceptible to spinal fractures.
Spinal Compression Fractures Risk Factors
- Aging: As we age, our bones naturally lose some density and become weaker, so the risk for fractures increases.
- Being female: Bone loss is more common in women, especially post-menopausal women. Women lose bone mass at an accelerated rate in the first 5-7 years after menopause. During menopause, women experience a steep drop in oestrogen, which is a female sex hormone that protects bones. When oestrogen levels decrease, bones may lose density and become prone to fractures.
- Having a pre-existing spinal fracture: It sounds obvious, but having one spinal fracture greatly increases chances of having another. Over time, multiple fractures can cause a loss of height, and you may notice your spine starting to hunch forward.
- Unhealthy lifestyle habits: Smoking, drinking large amounts of alcohol, and not exercising can all affect healthy bone density. Smoking and heavy alcohol consumption affects the body’s ability to absorb calcium. Living a sedentary lifestyle makes bones weak, making them prone to bone loss.
Further examination that maybe required or requested
The best way to confirm a spinal fracture is by having imaging tests.
- X-ray: An x-ray clearly shows your bones and if you have any fractures.
- CT scan: This test shows bones in addition to the soft tissues, such as nerves. If the doctor thinks there might be neurological issues, a CT scan is normally ordered to see what’s pressing on the nerve and spinal cord. Another benefit of a CT scan is that it’s possible to look at cross-sections of the spine. Also, the doctor can see the spine from more than one angle by using different views of the CT scan.
- MRI scan: An MRI shows soft tissues like discs and nerves. On an MRI, the doctor will also be able to see any intervertebral disc problems.
Why AIMIS for this Surgery
AIMIS strives for excellence in delivering the best surgical outcomes, via the extensive expertise of its prestige surgeons, its technologies, its highly trained staff and superior facilities to provide an individualized and compassionate experience in a comfortable environment. All patients are treated with the individual care they deserve in an effort to provide the best chance of successful treatment.
Other Services Provided by AIMIS
In addition to its Innovative Healthcare, AIMIS provides seamless service along the way. From the start of your journey you’ll know the best flights to take, where you’ll be staying, what paperwork you will need. You will have a personal assistant assigned; from your pick up at the airport, to your accommodation, continuous assistance at your pre-consultation, through surgery and in your postsurgical care. Our Patients have said that they feel they have become “”part of our family”” and some even asked to stay a little longer! AIMIS is here to assist you in an all you requirements, allowing you to focus on your health and recovery.