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Spine Fracture Symptoms

When fractures occur in the spine, they have different symptoms than fractures in other areas of the body. The dislocation of part of the vertebra can pinch and damage nerves, leading to pain within the region that radiates to other areas of the body. Usually, these fractures occur from injuries, trauma, or the weakening of bones due to osteoporosis.

They can occur anywhere in the spine, although are most common in the thoracic spine. If left untreated, spinal fractures can have very serious effects on the spinal cord, even leading to paralysis. At Loop Medical Center, we offer two types of treatments for spinal fractures: balloon kyphoplasty and sacroplasty.


Balloon Kyphoplasty

Balloon Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure to treat vertebral compression fractures. During the procedure, the patient is sedated and a balloon is guided into the affected vertebra with the assistance of fluoroscopy. The balloon is then inflated, raising the collapsed bone, creating space within the spinal column and fixing the positioning of the bone.

The balloon is removed and the cavity that it leaves behind is filled with an orthopedic, cement-like glue that hardens and stabilizes the vertebral body. This treatment can help eliminate pain, reduce pressure on surrounding nerves, and restore vertebral body height and proper alignment of the spine. This allows the patient to have increased mobility and stability, restoring their quality of life.


When a patient has a sacral insufficiency fracture, they may be a good candidate for a sacroplasty. These fractures, occurring within the sacrum, are relatively common, although there are currently very few treatment options for the condition. More recently, sacroplasty procedures have been offered in place of traditional therapies: bedrest and medication.

Similar to balloon kyphoplasty, this procedure is intended to reduce pain while increasing stability for patients with the use of biological cement. During this procedure, bone needles are inserted into the affected area with the assistance of fluoroscopy. Once in the correct position, bone cement is inserted through the needles, hardening along the fracture.

Pain reduction is almost immediate, with some patients endorsing alleviation of symptoms only 30 minutes after treatment.

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