Spinal Fracture

A spinal fracture – a broken bone in the back, neck, or spine – is a medical emergency. Spinal fractures can result from trauma, conditions that weaken the bones, tumors, and rarely, genetic conditions.

Although some spinal fractures require surgery, the majority can be successfully treated non-surgically.

The expert team of doctors at UT Southwestern’s Spine Center use the most sophisticated tools, techniques, and technologies to manage spinal fractures – from evaluation and treatment to specialized spine rehabilitation. We see many patients who have been referred for specialized care, including revision surgeries for spinal fractures.

When surgery is recommended, our skilled surgeons can perform some procedures minimally invasively, which can help patients to recover more quickly and reduce infection risk.

Our multidisciplinary approach gets you access to neurosurgeons, orthopaedists, and other specialists with one call. We strive to coordinate, facilitate, and expedite patient care, and save our patients time.

Our goal is to partner with our patients in their care, get them back to health as soon as possible, and help them achieve the best outcomes.


If we suspect that you have a spinal fracture, we will conduct a physical examination and order spine imaging studies. Spinal fractures are diagnosed with imaging technologies that can include x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), and bone scans.

We strive to educate patients about their conditions, imaging findings, and treatment options so that they can make informed decisions about their care.


After diagnosis, we’ll make sure you see the right experts to treat your specific symptoms. We treat spinal fractures with therapies that include:

  • Non-surgical immobilizing devices such as casts, braces, and traction
  • Spine rehabilitation (for both non-surgical and surgical patients)
  • Spinal stabilization, decompression (for compression of nerve roots or spinal stenosis), and vertebrae fusion surgeries that include:
    • Laminectomy - Used to perform posterior decompression
    • Cortectomy - Used for unstable vertebral fractures that require removal of the vertebral body
    • Instrumented fusion - Uses screws, internal bracing, and/or bone grafting to fuse vertebrae together. Implanted instruments often can be removed later.
    • Vertebroplasty - Biomedical cement is injected into the fractured vertebrae to reduce micromotion. Often used to treat osteoporotic and tumor-related fractures.
    • Kyphoplasty - Uses a balloon to create a cavity in the bone in which to place biomedical cement to reduce micromotion.
    • Percutaneous fracture fixation - A minimally invasive procedure that can be used to stabilize some spinal fractures

We will create a care plan that minimizes the number of visits you need to make while also providing you with the support you need.

Clinical Trials

UT Southwestern conducts clinical trials aimed at improving the treatment of spinal fractures. Talk with your doctor to see if a clinical trial is right for you.

Request an Appointment

To schedule an appointment with a spinal fracture specialist at UT Southwestern’s facilities in Dallas or to learn more about our services, request an appointment or call 214-645-8300.