Thoracic burst fracture

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Background

  • Unstable (usually)
  • Mechanism: axial loading with flexion compromising anterior and middle column
  • Retropulsion of bone causes damage to the spinal canal and neurologic deficits that often cause stable neurologic deterioration.
  • Can occur with or without injury to posterior elements (posterior involvement increases risk for neuro deficits)
  • Be certain not to mistakenly call a burst fracture a wedge fracture

Clinical Features

Differential Diagnosis

Thoracic Trauma

Workup

  • Obtain CT if unsure (vs. wedge)

Management

  • Consult Orthopedics or Neurosurgery (Institution dependent)
  • Depending on neurologic symptoms and features of the fracture- can be managed nonoperatively

Disposition

See Also

External Links

References