| Compression Fractures
Compression fractures are commonly seen in the elderly population. Women are
more likely to suffer these fractures. The fractures do not necessarily only
happen after falls and may occur during activities of daily living [such as
coughing, getting out of bed, etc].
Although the fractures are very painful initially, most patients with compression
fractures have relatively quick recovery. The initial treatment may include
bed rest, bracing, pain medication, Cacitonin and other medications depending
on the location and severity of the fracture.
Rarely, the fracture may cause problems with weakness or numbness in the legs;
bowel and bladder function may also get affected. In these cases, rapid intervention
with surgery is absolutely necessary. Fortunately, this type of situation is
If the fracture continues to cause significant pain at about 2 to 3 weeks after
the injury, however, surgical intervention via kyphoplasty
may be appropriate. This procedure is "minimally invasive"; the average
patient has quick pain relief with rapid recovery and is usually able to return
to their normal daily activities within a few days of the procedure.
The left panel shows a fractured vertebra; the vertebra is compressed in the
front and has lost its usually square/rectangular shape. With kyphoplasty, a
balloon is introduced into the vertebra which can "jack up" the vertebra
via inflation of the balloon. Cement is then injected to keep the proper shape
of the vertebra with significant pain relief.
To learn more about kyphoplasty, click here.