Spine Thoracic

Scheuermann's Disease

A Patient's Guide to Scheuermann's Disease

Introduction

The section of spine from below the neck to the bottom of the rib cage is called the thoracic spine. From the side, the thoracic spine appears slightly rounded. Its shape is like the letter C with the opening facing the front of the body. This normal curve is called kyphosis. With excessive kyphosis, the thoracic spine takes on a hunchbacked appearance.

Scheuermann's disease (also called Scheuermann's kyphosis) is a condition that starts in childhood. It affects less than one percent of the population and occurs mostly in children by the age of 11. It affects boys and girls equally. Those who do not get proper treatment for the condition during childhood often experience back pain from the spinal deformity as adults.

This guide will help you understand




Kyphoplasty

A Patient's Guide to Kyphoplasty

Introduction

Patients with osteoporosis are prone to compression fractures in the spine bones, or vertebrae. The bone cracks under pressure, causing it to collapse in height. More than 700,000 such fractures occur every year in the United States.

The fracture angles the spine forward and produces a hunchbacked appearance, called kyphosis. Patients with this condition are subject to debilitating pain, disturbed sleep, decreased lung and intestinal function, and difficulty completing routine activities.

Kyphoplasty restores the size and strength of the fractured vertebra. This realigns the spine and reduces pain. Nearly 95 percent of patients get immediate relief of pain with this procedure.

Related Document: A Patient's Guide to Spinal Compression Fractures




Thoracic Disc Herniation

A Patient's Guide to Thoracic Disc Herniation

Introduction

A rise in the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has led to the discovery that many people, perhaps as many as 15 percent of Americans, have a thoracic disc herniation. Seeing a herniated thoracic disc on MRI is often incidental, meaning it shows up when the person has MRI testing for another problem.

Few people with a thoracic disc herniation feel any symptoms or have any problems as a result of this condition. In rare cases when symptoms do arise, the main concern is whether the herniated disc is affecting the spinal cord.




Spinal Compression Fractures

A Patient's Guide to Spinal Compression Fractures

Introduction

Compression fractures are the most common type of fracture affecting the spine. A compression fracture of a spine bone (vertebra) causes the bone to collapse in height.

Compression fractures are commonly the result of osteoporosis. About 700,000 cases of compression fractures due to osteoporosis occur each year in the United States. Spine bones that are weakened from osteoporosis may become unable to support normal stress and pressure. As a result, something as simple as coughing, twisting, or lifting can cause a vertebra to fracture.

An injury to the spine, such as from a hard fall on the buttocks or blow to the head, can cause a spinal compression fracture. Compression fractures may also occur if cancer from other parts of the body spreads to the spine. Cancer weakens the spine bones and makes them prone to fractures.




Vertebroplasty

A Patient's Guide to Vertebroplasty

Introduction

Patients with osteoporosis are prone to compression fractures in the spine bones, or vertebrae. The front of a vertebra cracks under pressure, causing it to collapse in height. More than 700,000 such fractures occur every year in the United States. These fractures often cause poor back posture, debilitating pain, and difficulty completing routine activities.

Vertebroplasty restores the strength of the fractured bone, thereby reducing pain. More than 80 percent of patients get immediate relief of pain with this procedure.

Related Document: A Patient's Guide to Spinal Compression Fractures

This guide will help you understand




Thoracic Spine Anatomy

A Patient's Guide to Thoracic Spine Anatomy

Introduction

The section of the spine found in the upper back is called the thoracic spine. It goes from the base of the neck to the bottom of the rib cage. Knowing the main parts of the thoracic spine and how these parts work is important as you learn to care for your back problem.

Two common anatomic terms are useful as they relate to the thoracic spine. The term anterior refers to the front of the spine. The term posterior refers to the back of the spine. The front of the thoracic spine is therefore called the anterior thoracic area. The back of the thoracic spine is called the posterior thoracic area.

This guide gives a general overview of the anatomy of the thoracic spine. It should help you understand




My father had a kyphoplasty yesterday for back pain caused by a vertebral compression fracture. This morning he's complaining of worse pain and leg weakness. He can hardly stand up. We're waiting for the doctor to check him out. Is this a common problem after the surgery?

Kyphoplasty is the injection of a liquid cement into the broken vertebral bone. The cement seeps into the fracture lines and hardens. With a kyphoplasty, the surgeon inserts a deflated balloon inside the vertebral body first before injecting the cement.




My wife is going to have a vertebroplasty for a vertebral compression fracture. The surgical nurse and the surgeon both went over the possible problems that can develop after such a procedure. I forgot to ask how soon after the operation would we expect to see a problem develop? Is it right away? Months later?

All surgical procedures come with their own potential complications. Most of the time, nothing happens and the patient has an uneventful and successful recovery. But in a few people, there can be problems.

Vertebroplasty is an operation in which a special glue is injected into the spinal bone. The goal is to hold the fractured bone together and keep it from breaking apart and compressing even more. Once the glue hardens, the bone is stabilized.




Preventing Neurologic Injuries After Vertebroplasty or Kyphoplasty

Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are two similar surgical treatments for spinal factures caused by osteoporosis. In both these procedures, cement is injected into the fractured vertebral body. In the case of kyphoplasty, a balloon is inserted into the bone first. The balloon is inflated, removed, and then glue is injected inside the vertebral body.




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