Trauma to the Spine

Spinal trauma results from significant physical injury sustained as a result of high energy impacts or falls. Motor vehicle accidents and common falls account for a large portion of spinal trauma.

These injuries can lead to compression of one or more vertebrae. Weakened bones (osteoporosis) can also lead to fracture at a low level of trauma.

A traumatic episode can result in the sudden onset of back pain.

Symptoms

  • Back pain after an incident
  • Weakness or numbness
  • Paralysis

Causes

  • High energy impact trauma
  • Motor vehicle accident
  • Falls
  • Weakened bones (Osteoporosis)

Treatment

Nonsurgical Treatment

Pain medications, patience, and bracing are sometimes needed.

Surgery may be considered for those who do not improve.

Surgical Treatment

Lumbar Vertebral Body Replacement

If a vertebral body has been severely fractured in a traumatic event, the entire vertebral body may be replaced with a stabilized metal cage or bone strut. Instrumentation anchored to the surrounding vertebral bodies stabilizes the construct.
Decompression

This surgical procedure involves removing all or a portion of the lamina, removing bone spurs and/or enlarging the foramen to relieve pressure on the nerve roots or spinal cord.

Posterolateral Fusion

Often times, in addition to a decompression, your surgeon will perform an instrumented posterolateral fusion by inserting a series of rods and screws coupled with the placement of bone graft.

This fusion provides increased spinal stability depending on the severity of the injury.

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