A sintering fracture is a fracture of the vertebrae. The condition affects the spine and is also known as a sinter fracture or sinter fracture. Compression fractures can occur primarily in severely damaged bones as a result of osteoporosis. In many cases, comminuted fractures result in the vertebra affected by the fracture losing its stability and collapsing.
What is a sinter fracture?
A sintering fracture refers to a fracture of a vertebral body and can form as a result of a continuous collapse of the affected vertebra. Multiple vertebral bodies can be affected at the same time. Due to a reduction in the structure of the vertebral bone, the so-called substantia compacta can no longer bear the weight that weighs on it. For clubfoot definitions, please visit definitionexplorer.com.
This process is primarily caused by protracted osteoporotic changes in the vertebrae. For this reason, sintering fractures occur in the majority of cases in older people. The disease causes chronic pain and as a result causes significant movement restrictions for those affected.
The occurrence of sintering fractures is closely related to damage to the bony substance of the vertebrae. Fractures in the vertebral bones can form in particular if the bone is already damaged. In many cases, the main cause is osteoporosis of the affected bones. In younger people, considerable force is usually required to fracture a vertebra.
On the other hand, in the case of a previously damaged bone, even slight mechanical forces are sufficient to trigger failure of the bone material. In the case of vertebrae that are extremely damaged and affected by osteoporosis, even blowing your nose out can cause the vertebrae to collapse.
Sometimes it is difficult to decide in retrospect whether the trauma that caused the fracture was caused by violence or other forces . Basically, a sintering fracture represents a pathological fracture, because a healthy and intact bone does not give way in the form of a sintering fracture as a result of mechanical overload.
The supporting substance of the vertebrae, the substantia compacta, is structurally impaired in many cases and is already overloaded at low weight, so that the formation of sintering fractures is favored. The injuries that can cause a sinter fracture in older people are usually less dramatic than fractures of the vertebrae in younger people.
A healthy vertebra splinteres or bursts when force is applied in an accident, while a brittle and previously damaged bone in an osteoporotic vertebral body collapses.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
In the context of a sintering fracture, a so-called wedge vertebra forms, whereby the trailing edge remains intact and the vertebral canal is not injured. Otherwise, there is a risk of spinal cord syndrome. In numerous cases, a wedge vertebra does not occur individually, but the same fractures occur several times in a row.
As a result, the spine curves forward (medical term hyperkyphosis) and the height of the affected person decreases. In addition, the ratio of the length of the torso to the length of the arms and legs changes and thus appears disproportionate. The thoracic spine also curves while the abdomen bulges forward.
In slimmer people, as a result of the decreasing trunk length, several skin folds form in the area of the flanks. The resulting appearance is popularly known as the so-called “widow’s hump”.
Diagnosis & course of disease
Various examination methods are available for the diagnosis of sintering fractures. First, clinical examinations are carried out, which are based on the typical symptoms and complaints of sintering fractures. Here, the analysis of the medical history in conversation with the affected patient is essential.
In addition to a change in appearance, sintering fractures are associated with pain and physical limitations. This is often considered and accepted as a normal sign of aging. However, it is a late stage of insufficiently or untreated osteoporosis. X-ray examinations of the spine are therefore used to visualize possible fractures and to be able to secure the diagnosis. Bone density tests are carried out to diagnose the underlying disease, which is in most cases osteoporosis.
Various complications can occur as a result of a sintering fracture. First of all, there is a risk that the spine will curve forward and cause further incorrect posture. The altered relationship between torso length and arm and leg length can lead to misalignments, which under certain circumstances promote joint wear and bone pain.
In slim people, a sintering fracture often causes the so-called “widow’s hump”, several skin folds in the area of the flanks, which are primarily an aesthetic flaw. If the fracture of the spine is not treated or only treated insufficiently, the initially only slight pain quickly develops into chronic symptoms. In addition, there are physical limitations that affect the quality of life of those affected.
If the fracture is due to osteoporosis, the typical complications of bone loss can also occur. When it comes to treatment, the risks come mainly from surgical intervention. Typical procedures such as vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty can cause serious complications if the filling material leaks out.
For example, a pulmonary embolism can occur, which can be life-threatening. If the thrombus that has escaped penetrates the surrounding tissue structures, the result is paralysis, nerve damage and sensory disturbances in the lower extremities. Finally, prescribed medication can lead to the typical side effects and interactions.
When should you go to the doctor?
A sinter fracture should always be treated by a doctor. Since this is a fracture of a vertebra, it cannot heal on its own, so the affected person is dependent on medical treatment. Proper fusion can only be guaranteed through medical treatment. A doctor should be consulted for a sinter fracture if the person concerned suffers from a severe curvature of the spine. Especially after an accident or after a significant injury to the back, a doctor must be consulted with these complaints.
In severe cases, this can also lead to disturbances of feelings or sensitivity, whereby a doctor should also be consulted. The affected person’s abdomen usually bends forward due to the sintering fracture, which is accompanied by severe pain. In the case of these complaints, an orthopedist should be consulted in the first place. Depending on the severity and type of complaints, treatment can then be carried out. In emergencies or after an accident, however, an ambulance can also be called or the hospital can be visited directly.
Treatment & Therapy
If a comminuted fracture has occurred due to osteoporosis, the affected patients should not remain in bed for too long. A sufficient supply of special painkillers should be guaranteed and the spine should be stabilized with an orthopedic support device that is adapted to the patient.
With longer bed rest, the loss of calcium from the affected bones progresses rapidly and the next sintering fracture follows quickly. In addition, there is the option of vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty. The responsible material defect in the fractured vertebra is filled with a special bone cement under X-ray control.
If this procedure is possible, pain-free remobilization of the patient can take place soon after the surgical procedure. Apart from the immediate care of the comminuted fracture, long-term drug treatment of the underlying osteoporosis is important so that further comminuted fractures can be prevented.
Timely treatment of osteoporosis, which in many cases precedes vertebral fractures, is recommended to prevent sintering fractures. In the context of preventive examinations and monitoring of bone density, conclusions can be drawn about the disease. Appropriate medication and physical activity can slow down the degenerative processes that promote sinter fracture.
In the event of a sintering fracture, those affected usually only have a few options for direct aftercare. Therefore, those affected should consult a doctor as soon as the first symptoms and signs of the disease appear in order to prevent the occurrence of other symptoms or complications. Self-healing cannot occur in this case, so that the person concerned is always dependent on treatment by a doctor.
Many of those affected depend on the help and support of their own families during treatment. This can also make everyday life easier for those affected, which can also prevent depression and other mental disorders. As a rule, a sintering fracture can also be alleviated relatively well by a surgical intervention.
Those affected should definitely rest after this procedure and take care of their bodies. Physical activities or stressful activities should also be avoided in order not to unnecessarily burden the body. The disease can usually be cured relatively well. Therefore, there is usually no reduced life expectancy of those affected.
You can do that yourself
Because sinter fracture is a relatively painful condition, self-help measures are a good option to improve quality of life. In many cases, drug treatment alone is not sufficient to adequately alleviate the symptoms of the disease.
First of all, it is important that patients with a fresh sinter fracture do not remain in bed for too long. A lack of movement increases the risk of another fracture. Since osteoporosis is often the cause of the sinter fracture, its treatment is extremely important. Patients therefore take the medicines prescribed by the doctor against osteoporosis and also support the stability of their musculoskeletal system with suitable fitness exercises. Sporting activity must be clarified with the attending physicians in any case, but can then lead to noticeable success. For some people with a sinter fracture, special support belts are recommended, which give the spine back the missing support.
In principle, all control and preventive examinations must be used in order to prevent further fractures. Adequate physical activity has a beneficial effect on the sinter fracture and the entire organism and thus improves the quality of life of patients. Especially with regard to osteoporosis, it is also advisable to adapt your own diet and general lifestyle.