Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Upper Spine FAQ

Question:

My father had an artificial disc put in his spine in January. We just found out there is a fracture in the vertebral bone above the implant. What happens now?

Answer:

Your father's surgeon will have to counsel you on this. X-rays and MRIs will show the condition of the bone and the amount of damage present. The condition and position of the implant will be checked too.

The implant may have to be removed. The bones are then fused together. There are some treatments for vertebral fractures such as vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty. In the first procedure, cement is injected into the bone to seal the fracture. The cement fills the spaces and strengthens the bone so it is less likely to fracture again.

yphoplasty is used when the bone has fractured and collapsed. A needle is inserted into the bone and air is used to lift and realign the bone fragments. Then cement is injected into the air space to hold the bone up.

The use of artificial disc replacement is very new. Kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty on a spine with an implant is also a new situation. Fortunately vertebral fracture during or right after disc implantation is rare.

Charles (Ted) Shuff, MD, and Howard S. An, MD. Artificial Disc Replacement: The New Solutions for Discogenic Back Pain? In The American Journal of Orthopaedics. January 2005. Vol. 34. No. 1. Pp. 8-12.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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