A fracture which occurs in a bone affected by some other disease is referred to as a pathological fracture. In these cases, what appears to be incidental trauma or stress to a bone can lead to a fracture. Spinal deformity, particularly kyphosis, may occur. This type of deformity causes the spine to bend forward. In addition to producing pain, it may lead to stretching or compression of the spinal cord with weakness, numbness or bowel and bladder dysfunction.
Causes of Pathological Fracture
The two primary abnormalities that produce pathological fractures include weakness of the bones and destruction of the bones. Weakness comes from altered metabolism of calcium, vitamin D and parathyroid hormone. Destruction of the bone comes from tumors and infections. Due to the majority of the weight being supported by the front of the spine, these fractures often collapse the vertebral column producing a kyphotic deformity.
Signs and Symptoms of Pathological Fracture
Pain and swelling are the hallmarks of fractures. If a bone can no longer mechanically support the muscles which are attached to it, the function of that portion of the body may be limited. The vertebral bodies are common sites for pathological fractures to occur. Here, deformity of the spine may develop. Loss of height is seen. If the damaged bones impact the nervous system, they can lead to weakness, numbness and paralysis. When the vertebral bodies collapse, the spine may become deformed and angled forward. This produces a condition referred to as kyphosis. The deformity causes increased stress on the already damaged spine that can further increase the degree of kyphosis. A gibbus, or prominence of the spine, may be felt where the kyphosis occurs.
Find more information
Medical Content Last Updated on 07/12/2008
The information contained on this site is for the sole purpose of
being informative. This information is not and should not be used or relied upon as medical
advice. Always seek the advice of your physician, nurse
Or other qualified health care provider before you undergo any treatment or
for answers to any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
If you believe you have a medical emergency, please discontinue use
of MyElectronicMD and call 911 now.
Nothing contained on or provided through the service is intended to be or is
to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment.
Your use of this site is subject to certain terms and conditions.