Trauma to the spine can injure the vertebral bones as well as the spinal cord and spinal nerves. Spine trauma is a common injury and may be caused by falls, sports, the low impact falls in the elderly due to osteoporosis, assault, and motor vehicle accidents. Trauma can lead to fractures and dislocations of bones, rupture of ligaments, damage to intervertebral discs, vascular injury, compression of spinal nerves, or bruising or tearing of the spinal cord. Thoracic spine trauma surgery is a procedure performed to treat spinal injuries caused by trauma at the thoracic (upper back) region.
Surgery is indicated if conservative treatments do not adequately treat fractures, dislocations, and ligament tears. Spinal cord injuries may sometimes require immediate surgery to prevent further neurological damage.
Thoracic spine trauma surgery may be performed to:
- Realign the bones with internal fixation such as metal screws and rods to hold the fractured bones in place as the bones heal
- Remove fluid or tissue compressing the spinal cord (decompression laminectomy)
- Remove fragments of a fractured bone, disk or foreign bodies
- Replace a fractured vertebra with bone graft, allowing it to fuse with the adjacent vertebrae to form one single bone
Following thoracic spine fracture surgery, you will be advised early mobilization and rehabilitation to lower pain and restore mobility and function.
As with all surgeries, thoracic spine fracture repair may involve certain complications such as infection, bleeding, instrument failure, nonunion, blood clots, pneumonia, and pressure sores.