- The type of fracture in the spine that is typically caused by osteoporosis is generally referred to as a compression fracture. A compression fracture is usually defined as a vertebral bone in the spine that has decreased at least 15 to 20% in height due to fracture.
- A burst fracture is a spinal injury where the vertebra breaks due to immediate and severe compression. Immediate trauma such as a car accident or a severe fall are the leading causes for burst fractures with pieces of the vertebra shattering into surrounding tissues and sometimes the spinal canal.
- Vertebral augmentation is a category of surgical procedures that are used to stabilize a fractured vertebra with the goal of reducing the patient’s pain. These procedures are termed vertebroplasty, kyphoplasty, or radiofrequency vertebral augmentation.
- The goals of the vertebroplasty surgical procedure are to stabilize the spinal fracture and to stop the pain caused by the fracture. Vertebroplasty is considered a minimally invasive surgical procedure because the procedure is done through a small puncture in the patient’s skin (as opposed to an open incision). A typical vertebroplasty procedure, described below, usually takes about 1 hour to complete.