Spinal trauma and fractures

Fractured spine

Treating spinal fractures caused by trauma, osteoporosis and cancer at our state-of-the-art spinal care unit

About spinal traumas and fractures

Spinal fractures can have a significant impact on your quality of life, and even lead to life changing circumstances. They don’t always involve trauma and can result from less common but serious conditions such as infection and cancer or even osteoporosis. There are a number of treatments options available and depending on your degree of disability your consultant will help you choose the best one.

Need to know

  • What are the affects of spinal fractures on daily activity? icon plus

    Spinal fractures due to trauma may be associated with other injuries which could be life threatening. In this situation you may need to be taken to an acute hospital first before coming to one of our HCA UK hospitals. This is to allow time for the other injuries to stabilise. 

    Fractures due to infection, cancer or osteoporosis may not present with a history of trauma. The first symptom you may notice is pain in your back which affects your daily activities. If it is due to cancer or infection you may also feel generally unwell and have pain which disturbs your sleep. 

    If the fracture is pressing on a nerve or the spinal cord, you may have: 

    • difficulty walking
    • weakness or numbness in the arms or legs
    • radiating pain down the arm or legs
    • bowel or bladder problems
    • paralysis

    These are neurological problems and you should go to hospital. Compression fractures from osteoporosis are similar, but you can lose height or get a hump in the spine. Cancers which spread to the bone (metastases) from other sites in the body or even when they arise from the bone itself can cause fractures.

    These are known as pathological fractures. Both wear down your bone density and the first symptom is bone pain.


  • Diagnosing spinal fractures icon plus

    Your consultant will discuss your symptoms and ask if you have pain or symptoms of nerve damage. They will ask about recent trauma such as an accident and whether you have underlying health conditions such as osteoporosis or cancer.

    They may order spinal imaging tests. These tests show what kind of fracture you have and how severe it is and whether there is any pressure on the nerves or spinal cord. Your consultant may suggest further tests depending on the results.
  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    Pathological fractures caused by osteoporosis and cancer where indicated may be treated with kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty. Both procedures are minimally invasive to reduce tissue damage, blood loss and operating times.

    • Kyphoplasty, is where a balloon is inserted into the collapsed vertebra to restore height. This creates a cavity which is filled with liquid bone cement under a little pressure to restore stability and maintain height.
    • Vertebroplasty is where liquid bone cement is injected into the collapsed vertebra under high pressure to restore height and stability.

    Depending on the nature of the fracture neither kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty may be suitable and your consultant may opt for a conventional open operation instead. This may involve the use of ‘scaffolding’ with rods and screws to stabilise your spine.

    Not all fractures require surgery and wearing a brace may be all that is required.

Our spinal consultants

We're proud to work with leading orthopaedic and neurosurgical experts, who specialise in diagnosing, treating and managing spinal conditions and problems of different regions of the spine.

Our locations

From complex spinal surgery to diagnostic scans and physiotherapy support, we provide exceptional spinal care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Book an appointment

Our team can help with any enquiries or you can make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

Call us today

020 7079 4344
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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