Spinal Compression Fracture Treatment

What is a spinal compression fracture and how does it occur?

The most common cause of spinal compression fractures is osteoporosis. Spinal compression fractures are more prevalent in women than men and are common amongst the elderly. However, many elderly males can have osteoporotic compression fractures. Although this is less common, spinal compression fractures can be associated with spinal cancers or cancers that have spread to the spine. The pain caused by these breaks varies from minor to excruciating. Spinal compression fractures can be the result of a fall or other accidents in people with severe osteoporosis; although, it may also be attributable to bending, twisting, or lifting objects.

Compression of one or more of the vertebral bodies in the spine will typically be evident on an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI. An MRI is often most useful as it can help determine the age of the fracture. A nuclear medicine bone scan may be ordered in cases when a patient is unable to undergo an MRI and there is uncertainty regarding the age of a fracture.


  • Back pain has suddenly arisen.
  • When sitting or walking, the pain becomes more intense.
  • During rest, pain intensity decreases.
  • The ability to move your spine decreases or becomes limited.
  • Loss of height can be a result.
  • Deformity and disability may occur eventually.

What is the treatment for a spinal compression fracture?

We will talk about your treatment alternatives based on the findings of your imaging test and clinic consultation. The most frequent treatment for a spinal compression fracture is a kyphoplasty.

What is a Kyphoplasty and how does it work?

A kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that uses medical grade “bone cement” to prevent the spinal compression fracture from worsening and to relieve back discomfort.

A needle is inserted into the skin using X-ray guidance and pushed through the vertebra. A balloon is then inserted and inflated through the needle to restore missing height of the bone. To stabilize the fracture, cement is injected into the space created by the balloon. Kyphoplasty does more than vertebroplasty by using the balloon space to restore bone height. Vertebroplasty is similar but just reduces pain and stabilizes the bone by using the balloon to restore bone height. 

At MIVA, moderate sedation is used during a kyphoplasty. Recovery time is minimal.