At Spine & Orthopedic Center, our team of spine specialists which include spine surgeons, neurosurgeons, pain management doctors, physiatrists and physical therapists work together in treating spine trauma and/or injuries to vertebrae, spinal cord, nerves or all. Injuries to the spine may lead to fractures (compression fractures), sub-luxation, dislocation, disc herniation, ligament tear, among other conditions.
What is spine trauma? Simply put, spinal trauma is the damage to the spine due to a traumatic injury. This traumatic injury is caused by physical injuries such as accidental falls, car accidents, lifting of heavy items, etc. The most common symptom of a spinal trauma is pain that can be followed by numbness on legs or arms, limited movement and paralysis. When the spinal nerves are damaged, it can cause sensory loss as well as weakness.
Spinal Trauma Diagnosis
Your doctor will evaluate your medical history, ask several questions regarding the accident or injury, and will perform several physical examinations. Then, your doctor will order spine imaging test such as X-rays, a CT scan, or a MRI scan.
Spine Trauma Treatments
The type of treatment recommended by the spine specialist will vary depending on the type of injury and cause of pain (location of injury). The non-surgical options for spine injuries include patience and bracing along with physical therapy or rehabilitation. Pain medication is often needed as well as epidural injections in order to decrease the inflammation, thus reducing the pain. Surgery may be considered for patient who do not improve with a conservative treatment. Find below some of the most common spinal surgery options:
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.
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.
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.