Kevin Hart reportedly fractured three vertebrae in his back during a serious car crash in California over the Labor Day weekend.  Hart was in the passenger seat when his 1970 Plymouth Barracuda when the car drove off a Malibu highway and rolled down an embankment, according to USA Today. Both Hart and the driver reportedly suffered back injuries.

Hart’s wife, Eniko told TMZ her husband would make a full recovery after emergency back surgery Sunday. Sources report Hart needed two bone fusions in his spine.

Rumors sparked in the days since the accident reporting Hart was paralyzed or that he lost the ability to speak. All official news sources are reporting he will make a full recovery. Our thoughts and prayers are certainly with him, his family, and the others involved in the crash.

The seriousness of the injuries and the unknown have left fans worried about the comedian, who reportedly just finished filming two movies before the crash.  So let’s first discuss bone fractures – and the different things these conditions could mean. Of course, we do not have a lot of information about Hart’s specific condition or doctors would choose a specific course of treatment. We do know – car accidents can be the beginning of many back problems for a lot of people.

back fractures shown on vertebral body

Bone Fractures

Bone fractures can happen in all sorts of ways – but the two most common types of vertebrae fractures are Burst Fractures and Compression Fractures. We have talked about compression fractures before when talking about football players injuring their backs.  They can happen gradually over time in older people, or people with highly physical jobs. A burst fracture is a more traumatic injury – the vertebra is so compressed so quickly that the bone fractures. This is a common injury in serious car crashes or falls from high places.

Treating Compression Fractures

Compression Fractures are most commonly found in elderly people. That is because Compression Fractures are often found in patients dealing with Osteoporosis – the loss of bone density and quality in the spine.

If a young person in otherwise great health suffers a compression fracture – doctors may often prescribe pain medication and rest while the fracture heals on it’s own. Compression Fractures can also be treated with a minimally invasive spine procedure called a kyphoplasty.

A Kyphoplasty is one of the least invasive procedures we offer – with very little risk. The procedure involved sticking a needle through a small hole in the skin and injecting bone cement into the fractured vertebra. Once the cement dries – the pain is gone! Neurosurgeon, Dr. Justin L. Owen says he recommends any person struggling with fractures due to osteoporosis look into getting a kyphoplasty.

“If my elderly father suffered a compression fracture today, I’d be getting him a kyphoplasty tomorrow. The procedure is that simple!” Owen explains.

“Kyphoplasty is a great procedure that can be highly effective in immediately relieving debilitating pain from compression fractures.  These painful injuries are extremely common in our senior population and those individuals with osteoporosis.” Owen says.  “No one needs to suffer in pain from these fractures!  I can fix them in as little as ten minutes with outpatient surgery, often times through a single 2 millimeter incision with no post-operative activity restrictions!”

Treating Burst Fractures

Burst Fractures are most commonly found in traumatic cases, like in the case of a car accident. There is no way to assume these are the kinds of fractures Kevin Hart is recovering from, but it would be a good guess. Depending on the stability of the patient’s spine – and other health requirements a spine fusion may be necessary.

News sources are saying Hart went through two fusions on Sunday, less than 24 hours after his accident. The procedures are definitely bigger than a kyphoplasty- but are some times necessary.

Dr. Justin Owen says “Fusion has earned a bad rap, but – just like any tool or procedure – it’s all in how it gets used.  Fusion can be extremely beneficial and wonderfully effective when selected appropriately.  I would argue that 90 percent of being a good surgeon comes down to good decision-making and solid planning.  Sometimes fusion IS the answer!”


If you are suffering from neck and back pain after a car accident, fall or any other event, make sure you are getting the most information from as many sources as possible. If you would like to get an opinion from one of the highest rated spine surgeons in the state – you can fill out our “Request An Appointment” form below or call our office at 985-400-5778. 


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