What Is the Treatment for a Fractured Vertebrae?


Quick Answer

Nonsurgical treatment of fractured vertebrae focuses on bracing to keep the torso from rotating and bending during rehabilitation, according to Medscape. When fractures are major or are unstable, surgical treatment is necessary. Surgery focuses on decompressing the canal of the spinal cord and stabilizing the verterbral column.

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Full Answer

When emergency responders first treat a person with suspected fracture of the vertebrae, they focus on the ABC protocol (Airway, Breathing and Circulation). Once this protocol is complete, they consider maintaining a stable blood pressure and stabilize the patient on a spinal board that permits no motion. The purpose of this confinement is to minimize the potential for injury while the patient is going to the hospital. If the ride takes more than an hour or two, the technicians turn the patient to prevent the formation of sores, notes Medscape.

For minor fractures that allow nonsurgical treatment, the patient wears a brace or spinal orthotic vest. This device provides support to the upper body while allowing patients to use upper body strength as they rehabilitate their injuries, reports Medscape.

Surgical treatments for fractured vertebrae either approach the injury from the back, the abdomen or below the back. The specific approach depends on the location of the fracture's incursion into the spinal canal and the nature of the fracture itself, states Medscape.

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