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Spinal Fractures

Kirk Minkus, MD

Interventional Radiologist & Endovascular Specialist located in Mesa, AZ & Gilbert, AZ

Vertebral compression fractures affect 12-20% of adults over the age of 50, making them one of the most common spinal fractures. At his practice in Mesa and Gilbert, Arizona, Kirk Minkus, MD, treats vertebral compressions fractures with a minimally invasive procedure called kyphoplasty. As an expert in interventional radiology, Dr. Minkus has extensive experience performing kyphoplasties, which restore normal spinal strength and mobility. You can’t undergo kyphoplasty if the bone heals, so don’t wait to schedule an appointment. Call or use the online booking feature today.

Spinal Fractures Q & A

What causes spinal fractures?

The vertebrae in your spine can suffer several types of fractures but there are two primary causes. 

You may fracture one or more vertebrae due to high-energy trauma such as a fall or car accident. Your vertebra may also collapse without significant trauma because it’s too weak. This type of fracture is called a vertebral compression fracture.

What causes a vertebral compression fracture?

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Though a tumor or trauma could cause a vertebral compression fracture, most are the result of osteoporosis. Throughout your lifetime, your body continuously eliminates old or damaged bone and replaces it with new, healthy bone, a process called remodeling.

As long as remodeling stays in balance, your bones remain strong. But when old bone is discarded faster than it’s replaced, the bone loses mass and becomes weak and brittle. That’s when you have osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis makes the vertebra so weak that it can collapse during everyday activities. Coughing or bending over to pick up something can put enough stress on the vertebra to cause a compression fracture.

What symptoms develop if I have a spinal compression fracture?

Most patients experience pain at the time the vertebra collapses. The pain usually feels better when you lie down and worse when you’re active.

Over time, your upper back may develop a rounded appearance, a condition called kyphosis. During a compression fracture, the front of the vertebra collapses but the back stays intact. 

When several adjacent vertebrae all suffer compression fractures, the wedge-shaped bones create a rounded shape.

How are spinal compression fractures treated?

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Dr. Minkus performs a minimally invasive procedure called kyphoplasty to repair compression fractures. During kyphoplasty, he uses real-time imaging to view the spine and guide a hollow needle into the damaged vertebra.

Once the needle is in place, Dr. Minkus inserts a balloon into the vertebra and inflates the balloon to restore the bone’s natural height and shape. Then he removes the balloon and fills the space with bone cement.

The cement maintains the vertebra’s shape and allows the fracture to heal completely. As a result, your pain is relieved and you regain normal spine strength and movement. 

Don’t wait to schedule an appointment. If the bone heals, you can’t have kyphoplasty. At the first sign of back pain, call Kirk Minkus, MD, or use the online booking system.

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