Spinal fractures often result from major trauma, but in older people with osteoporosis they can occur with minimal injury, so called ‘crush fractures’. In emergency cases after major trauma, often surgery is necessary to stabilise the broken spine. At Prince of Wales Hospital, we specialise in treatment of fractures that are associated with paralysis due to spinal cord injury. Unfortunately, in only a small proportion of cases can surgery improve recovery of paralysis. The surgeons work as a team with the specialist rehabilitation service at the Prince of Wales spinal cord injury unit to maximise recovery and support transition back into normal life.
Spinal crush fractures in older people are often very painful, but do not cause paralysis. Treatment is based on giving pain killers and supportive care whilst the fracture heals. It is very rare for surgery to be used in these cases. The most important thing is to treat osteoporosis, which is proven to reduce the chance of another fracture.