Skeletal Trauma > Thoracic Spine > Thoracic Compression Fracture

Thoracic Compression Fracture

Thoracic Compression Fracture
  • Compression injuries (burst fractures) are due to axial loading.
  • Multiple noncontiguous fractures are associated with burst fracture in nearly 50%, so finding a fracture should make one continue to look and not give up on the search.
  • One should not confuse the normal 1.5 mm anterior tapering of the anterior thoracic vertebral bodies for compression.
  • With compression, there is loss of vertebral height and usually disruption of the posterior vertebral line. If the body has lost stature, it may be impossible to tell if this is an acute fracture without old films for comparison.
  • CT should be performed for full assessment of the spinal canal in compression fracture cases because neurological deficit occurs in 65% of patients.
Which vertebra is compressed? Click on the image for the answer.

© Copyright Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia 2021