Fracture of the lumbar spine can occur whenever forces applied to the lower spinal column exceed the strength and stability of the spinal column unit. Common injuries resulting in fractures of the lumbar spine include fall from a height; motor vehicle and motor vehicle and pedestrian accidents; and penetrating trauma, including gunshot wounds and stabbings. Unstable injuries to the pelvis often are associated with injury to the sacral plexus and the lower lumbar spine.
The goal of the diagnostic radiologist is to identify lumbar spine fractures correctly, to identify and correlate neurologic injury to vertebral fractures, to advise the surgeon (who best defines the extent of injury to supporting structures), to gauge the risk to the spinal cord, and to judge the stability of postoperative fixation. This article highlights the typical patterns of injury and focuses on the imaging methods that are most useful in the clinical practice of trauma radiology.
Synonyms and related keywords: Chance fracture, pathologic fracture, burst fracture, insufficiency fracture, spondylolysis deformity, spondylolisthesis, lumbar spine trauma, lumbar spine injury, lumbar spine fracture
Nadalo, Van Meter & Moody 2007