Spine Fractures

Spine fractures are injuries to the bones of the spine after a traumatic event such as a fall or car accident. You may feel pain soon after the injury occurs or up to several days or weeks later. At the Swedish Neuroscience Institute, we specialize in treating many kinds of spine fractures, including:

  • Odontoid fractures: These occur in the bones at the top of the neck and frequently are related to falls.
  • Compression fractures: These occur when one or more vertebrae collapse, resulting in pain to the area.
  • Burst fractures: These traumatic fractures occur when one or more vertebrae shatter, frequently resulting in the spread of bone in many directions. Pieces of vertebrae may lodge in surrounding tissue or the spinal cord, causing significant neurological damage.

Treatment

Conservative

Treatment will depend on your particular condition. We start with non-surgical, or conservative, treatment. This could include bracing and physical therapy. Kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty may also be helpful for stabilizing fractured vertebrae. These procedures involve injecting a cement-like material into the bone to hold the vertebrae together. 

Surgery

With unstable fractures, particularly burst fractures, surgery often is necessary to lessen the risk of further injury to the spinal cord and spinal nerves. Your surgical team will create a personalized treatment plan based on your condition, a physical exam and imaging studies. Swedish specialists may recommend a spinal fusion to join two or more bones of your spine using supplementary bone tissue. This is done to hold the fractured bone in place, and prevent movement that can lead to irritation and inflammation, or damage to the spinal cord or spinal nerves.

To have a spinal condition assessed by a Swedish spine specialist, schedule a consultation online or call 206-320-BACK (2225).