Skeletal Trauma > Thoracic Spine > General Considerations for the Thoracic Spine

General Considerations for the Thoracic Spine

  • It is important to trace the outline of each vertebral body, pedicle, transverse process and spinous process for any discontinuity. The distance between the pedicles should be checked on the AP view to assess the integrity of the ring. One should also follow the smooth alignment of the vertebral bodies for any step-off or abrupt angulation.
  • Injuries in the thoracolumbar spine can be classified by mechanism of injury: hyperflexion, vertical compression or shearing injury. Hyperflexion injuries are most common and associated with anterior compression and wedging with posterior distraction. Vertical compression injuries decrease the height of the body diffusely with possible retropulsion of fragments into the spinal canal. Shearing injuries are associated with anterior dislocation and may show disruption of the posterior and middle columns, making them unstable.

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