Compression Fractures of the Spine- A New Approach

New Standard of Care for Spine Vertebral Compression Fractures

by Greg Carlson, M.D.
Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon
Fellowship Trained in Spine Surgery

Vertebral Compression Fractures (VCF’s) are common problems impacting people with weak bone structure (osteoporosis). Patients often present with severe incapacitating back and leg pain completely unaware of the fragile bone condition that has developed over time. The symptoms often render the patients unable to mobilize or take care of themselves. Bed rest and immobility are often unresponsive to pain medication, bracing and supportive care.  In addition to the disabling pain, bed rest will eventually lead to potentially life threatening complications including pneumonia, sepsis, and skin ulcers and infections.

How are Compression Fractures of the Spine Treated?

The Old Method of Treatment

The patient lays in bed unable to move and relies on narcotic medication with side effects of constipation, mental confusion, and infection. Current health systems require patients to see multiple providers at different locations and times. Often the diagnosis cannot be confirmed with out advanced imaging (MRI or CT) that to often requires transportation to yet another location. Initial responders, primary care doctors and emergency medical doctors, are not trained to render timely pain sparing procedures. The result is a delay in diagnosis, prolonged immobility, patient pain and suffering, and increased societal costs.

A typical compression fracture of the spine. These fractures are extremely painful and debilitating. In the past the only treatment option was bed rest, bracing and pain medication.

How are Compression Fractures of the Spine Treated at Restore Orthopedics and Spine Center?

Patients have access to early treatment and diagnosis through our specialized musculoskeletal urgent care. This part of our facility provides a one-stop destination for early diagnostic X-ray, MRI or CT.  Specialty trained clinicians are available to interpret the real time findings and implement a treatment plan without leaving the facility. Pain sparing procedures that provide immediate spinal stability through injection of bone cement (Kyphoplasty/Vertebroplasty) into fractured vertebrae can allow patients early mobilization and return to home. Often the procedures can be performed the same day or within a 24 hr period in our minimally invasive surgical facility avoiding unnecessary hospitalizations and complications. Some patients also benefit by follow-up with pain specialists that can fine-tune the recovery with additional services such as medications, bracing, epidural steroid injections, and radiofrequency ablations.

Safe and accurate percutaneus injection of fast drying bone cement can lead to immediate pain relief and faster return of function.  This can be done safely by a trained specialists in a surgery center environment.

I hope you found this information useful.  For appointments please call my office at 714.598.1745

About Dr. Carlson:

Dr. Greg Carlson is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with subspecialty training in Spine Surgery.

He completed his Bachelor of Arts in biology at Southern University in Tennessee. He attended medical school at Loma Linda University graduating with Alpha Omega Alpha Honors. His residency and first year of Spine Fellowship were performed at the University of California, San Diego. His second Spine Fellowship was completed at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Dr. Carlson has published numerous scientific articles on both basic science and clinical topics, and lectured extensively on spinal reconstructive topics. He continues to teach residents and orthopedic surgeons locally and abroad. Dr. Carlson is also a Clinical Assistant Professor of Orthopedics at the University of California, Irvine.

He is a member of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, the California Orthopedic Association, the Orange County Medical Association, the American Orthopedic Association, and the Cervical Spine Research Society. He serves on the Editorial Advisory boards for the Journals, Spine & Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, and regularly provide peer review services for submitted scholarly articles submitted for publication to these Journals. He has received research funding for clinical and basic research projects resulting in award winning paper presentations at a number of spine society meetings.

For appointments please call our office Restore Orthopedics and Spine Center at 714.598.1745

Restore Orthopedics and Spine Center

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