TABLE 2644 Classification of Thoracolumbar Spine Injury

A flexion-distraction mechanism places the anterior portions of the spine under compression while distracting the posterior elements. The lateral radiograph shows loss of height in the anterior portion of the vertebra with increased interspinous spaces posteriorly ("fanning"). This injury is unstable.

Translational injuries are the result of large shear forces that cause complete disruption of spine stability. The lateral radiograph will show translation of one or more vertebral segments on subsequent segments. Associated neurologic injury is common. Specific injuries include slice fractures, rotational fracture/dislocations, and pure dislocations.28 Minor fractures include spinous process fractures, transverse process fractures, and pars interarticularis fractures. Minor fractures have no associated neurologic compromise and are considered stable.

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