Spinal Fracture Medical Negligence Solicitors – Compensation Claims

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If you have been injured by a healthcare professional including a doctor, dentist, nurse or technician and would like to speak to a medical negligence solicitor without further obligation, just use the helpline. A medical negligence lawyer who deals exclusively in personal injury claims will speak to you, giving free advice and information on how best to preserve your legal right to receive compensation as a result of injuries caused by medical negligence.

Spinal Fracture

It doesn’t have to be a major fall or motorcycle accident in order to get a spinal fracture. Even minor traumas have the capacity of causing a spinal fracture. It’s a myth that all spinal fractures require surgery. Many of the minor spinal fractures never need surgery; however, the major ones might result in severe and long term complications if not treated properly and without delay.

Spinal injuries can be as simple, but painful as compression fractures, which can be spontaneous or from a fall. They can also be as difficult as burst fractures and impressive fracture dislocations that occur in motor vehicle accidents or in falls from great heights. It is up to the attending physician to make note on x-ray of any painful spine injury or in any injury that might lead to a dangerous fracture. It is the severe injuries that result in spinal instability, with spinal cord injuries and painful sequelae.

One risk factor to getting a spinal fracture is having osteoporosis, which involves a weakening of the bones in general. Vertebral compression fractures come out of trauma paired with osteoporosis, although trauma is not a necessity. Such pain is ongoing and stressful. Some people need bracing or need to have pain medication for a prolonged period of time. Unfortunately, this kind of injury can lead to progressive deformity. The treatment for osteoporotic spinal vertebral fractures is called a kyphoplasty. It strengthens the bone by injecting bone cement. In other situations, a vertebroplasty can be done. This doesn’t re-expand the bone but it injects bone cement nevertheless.

The causes of fractures involve motor vehicle accidents and falls from a great height. The forces may be so great that they overcome the strength of the vertebral column and the load can’t be supported. The front part of the vertebral body is the weakest and it can compress. If the entire aspect of the vertebra is fractured, it is called a burst fracture. Mild fractures still result in a deformity, usually in the forward direction. The end result is being hunched forward in a condition known as kyphosis.

What are the treatment options in spinal fractures? Non-surgical choices include having the patient immobilized in a brace for up to three months. It can prevent deformity and reduce the experience of pain.

If the condition is severe, it may require surgery. In a vertebroplasty, the surgeon inserts a catheter into a vertebra that has become compressed. The purpose of the catheter is to inject bone cement into the vertebra. The cement hardens and makes the vertebra more stable. It can reduce overall spinal pain and improves mobility. It doesn’t, however, correct any deformity within the spine.

In a kyphoplasty, the surgeon inserts the catheter into the vertebra under x-ray guidance. An inflatable bone “tamp” builds up the height of the vertebra so when bone cement is used, the bone retains its usual size and definition. The procedure prevents the vertebra from collapsing again and the spine is structurally sound.

Surgery is also possible using plates, screws and nails. A cage can go around the vertebra so that it allows the vertebra to solidify within the cage. It does not increase the height of the vertebra.

The major risks of surgery to the spine include infection of the bony area, bleeding, stiffness and pain.

After the surgery, you may need to stay overnight a day or two for a regular spinal surgery. For a kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty, you usually do not have to stay overnight at the hospital unless you have an underlying medical problem like lung disease or heart disease.

The recovery time for braces is about 6-12 weeks following typical spinal surgery. The patient also needs an additional 3 to 6 weeks of physical therapy to recover. In a kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty, the patient can return to normal activities as soon as they can, without restrictions. There may be a need to have physical therapy to recover muscular strength.

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