Your contact partners
in this area:
Prof. <br /> Dr. med. habil.<br /> Georg Matziolis
Dr. med. habil.
Georg Matziolis

Senior Consultant of the Clinic for Orthopaedics and Accident Surgery

Acting holder of the Chair for Orthopaedics of the FSU Jena at the Waldkrankenhaus Eisenberg

036691 8-1002

Specialist Registrar Dr. med. Patrick Strube
Specialist Registrar Dr. med. Patrick Strube

Head of department spinal column

Specialist for othopaedics and accident surgery

Oberarzt PD Dr. med. Patrick Strube
Oberarzt PD Dr. med. Patrick Strube

Departmentleiter Wirbelsäule

Facharzt für Orthopädie und Unfallchirurgie


Specialist Registrar's Office
Gabi Geier

036691 8-1439

Vertebral fractures

Vertebral fractures

A distinction is made between the causes

1. Traumatic (accident-related) fracture

2. Osteoporotic (bone loss) fracture

3. Pathological (tumour growth / metastases) fracture

Traumatic vertebral fractures

Frequency and mechanism of injury:

Spinal injuries are rare compared to other injuries of the skeletal system and occur with a frequency of around 1 per cent of all injuries. The consequences can involve dramatic limitations of the accident victim’s quality of life. The most commonly affected area is the junction between the thoracic and lumbar spine (thoracolumbar junction), the second is the cervical spine and the junction of the cervical and thoracic spine.

Over time, the spine can become deformed following injuries (post-traumatic kyphosis), so even many years after the accident neurological symptoms can develop.

Goals of treatment and prognosis:

The goal of treatment is to rapidly reduce pain and mobilise the patient. Neurological disorders need to be avoided, reduced or resolved. Often, surgical stiffening of the spinal column sections is inevitable. We try to resolve the patient's problems with the least surgical input possible.

Osteoporotic (bone loss) fracture

“Osteoporosis is a systemic skeletal condition characterised by a reduction in bone mass and deterioration of the micro-architecture of the bone tissue, resulting in reduced stability and increased risk of fracture.” (Definition by the WHO from 1993)

This means that too little normal bone tissue is present and more bone is degraded than developed. If the body has lost 40 per cent of its bone mass, there is an acute risk of fracture of the spine, the femoral neck and the radius, even from low-impact injuries.

The risk of suffering an osteoporosis-related spinal fracture later in life is 40 per cent in women over the age of 50. In other words, Four out of ten women who are 50 years old today will, statistically speaking, suffer a spinal fracture. The risk of suffering a second spinal fracture is increased by a factor of 8-10 following the first fracture.

Conservative treatment is possible for mild cases, provided there is no risk of further deformity or damage to nerve structures. With all forms of treatment, is important to investigate and treat osteoporosis correctly.

Established surgical methods include:


Spinal tumours are classified as primary or secondary:

Primary spinal tumours

Only around 5 per cent of all primary tumours of the skeleton are localised to the spine. They can be benign or malignant. Tumour-like lesions or benign bone tumours such as haemangiomas, osteoid osteomas, osteoblastomas or aneurysmal cysts are rare. Primary malignant tumours are very rare, but include giant cell tumours, chordomas, chondrosarcomas, Ewing's sarcomas, fibrosarcomas and osteosarcomas.

Secondary spinal tumours

Secondary spinal tumours (metastases) are indicators of the migration of a tumour to distant tissue (e.g. the spine). Cancers of the breast, kidney, prostate and lungs frequently metastasise to the spine. Spinal metastases are usually found in the thoracic spine (70%), followed by the lumbar spine (20%) and cervical spine (10%).

Symptoms can include varying degrees of pain, caused by osteolyses (bone breakdown) in the area of the vertebra affected. These can be associated over time with pathological fractures and neurological dysfunction, which manifests itself in the form of sensory deficits, bladder / rectal disorders through to paraplegia.

In some cases, the problem is discovered as an incidental finding during a routine examination. Often, taking a sample from the vertebra helps to ascertain the diagnosis. Treatment must be adapted to the patient’s individual needs. This will include the type of primary tumour involved, the stage of the tumour and the patient's general condition. In some cases, only adequate pain relief is possible.

Established surgical methods include:

Deutsches Zentrum für Orthopädie: Wirbelsäulenerkrankungen

In unserer Wirbelsäulensprechstunde beraten und betreuen wir Menschen mit Muskelverspannungen durch Fehlbelastung, Skeletterkrankungen (z.B. Osteoporose) und Abnutzungserscheinungen der Wirbelsäule oder Bandscheiben.
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