Gary Alegre, MD
Orthopedic Spine Surgeon located in Stockton, CA
While a compression fracture sounds like the result of an accident or trauma, in reality, this condition most often develops gradually through bone density loss. The good news is that there’s an effective treatment for compression fractures, which orthopedic spine surgeon Gary Alegre, MD, offers at his office in Stockton, California. To learn more, call the office or book an appointment online.
Compression Fracture Q & A
What are compression fractures?
A compression fracture is most often the result of osteoporosis, and describes a condition in which the affected vertebra has lost 15-20% in height due to a fracture.
If you have osteoporosis, your bones begin to lose density and mass, including your vertebrae, making them brittle and vulnerable to fracture. In fact, a simple sneeze or misstep can cause a compression fracture.
Compression fractures typically occur in the 12 vertebrae in your thoracic spine, or mid back, although they can occur in the lumbar spine in your lower back, as well. The bone strength in your vertebrae is strongest on the backside, leaving the front side more susceptible to compression fractures. It’s for this reason that compression fractures can leave you hunching forward as your vertebra collapses inward, which is why these fractures are also called wedge fractures.
What are the symptoms of compression fractures?
The most common signs of a compression fracture include:
- Sudden pain
- Increased pain with standing and moving
- Relief from the pain when you lie down
- Decreased mobility in your spine
- Loss of height
If you’ve been diagnosed with osteoporosis, Dr. Alegre makes sure you’re on the lookout for any of these signs. Unfortunately, however, many people are unaware of the condition until a bone begins to fracture.
How is a compression fracture treated?
In order to treat compression fractures, Dr. Alegre turns to a procedure called a kyphoplasty. This procedure allows Dr. Alegre to fix your fracture using only minimally invasive techniques. Here’s how it works:
- Dr. Alegre accesses your vertebra from the back through a half-inch incision
- Using a needle, Dr. Alegre inserts a balloon to expand the vertebral space
- Once your vertebra is expanded and back in position, Dr. Alegre fills the balloon with a bone cement
- The bone cement forms a cast on the inside of your vertebra, which provides support
Dr. Alegre performs this procedure on an outpatient basis, meaning you can go home afterward.
If you suspect you have a compression fracture, call Gary Alegre, MD, to get expert diagnosis and treatment. You can also schedule an appointment using the online booking tool.