E1031. This Is Spinal Trauma: A Review of Traumatic Spine Injuries
LSU Health Sciences Center
LSU Health Sciences Center
Spine stability relies on the integrity of both bony and ligamentous components. Injury to these structures with resultant instability often requires surgical stabilization. Understanding the mechanisms behind spinal fractures and determining mechanical stability are critical tools for the evaluation and management of patients presenting with spinal injuries.
The identification of common spinal fracture patterns offers an effective and succinct method of communication between the radiologist and referring physician. This information guides decision-making regarding surgical versus nonsurgical management, with the goal of avoiding or minimizing significant neurologic injury or progressive deformity. The effective radiologist distills the oftentimes-complex injury mechanism and/or unique findings into a simple, digestible bit for the referring physician, which will then elicit a next step in management or treatment.
Educational Goals / Teaching Points
We aim to provide a straightforward review of traumatic spinal fractures that is relevant and informative to the radiologist, radiologist-in-training, or interested resident or medical student. After reviewing this exhibit, the audience should be able to: describe the classification of common spinal fractures and injuries; recognize the characteristic appearance of these injuries on radiographs and cross-sectional imaging; understand the pathophysiology and mechanism of injury; and become familiar with associated complications and any necessary follow-up or confirmatory imaging.
Key Anatomic/Physiologic Issues and Imaging Findings/Techniques
This educational exhibit will be a pictorial essay reviewing multiple musculoskeletal spinal fractures and injuries with their characteristic radiographic “Aunt Minnie” appearances. X-ray findings will be correlated with available cross-sectional imaging, including computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). We will discuss the pathophysiology and mechanism of injury, as well as associated complications and adequate follow-up imaging, when applicable.
Traumatic spinal fractures are often complex injuries that may seem daunting to the radiologist-in-training. A basic understanding of injury patterns and mechanisms, however, allows the distillation of multiple findings into a cohesive, direct report that will aid the referring clinician in decision-making. It is therefore crucial for the radiologist to recognize these injuries correctly to ensure proper communication and patient management. We aim to provide a straightforward review of traumatic spinal fractures that is relevant and informative to the radiologist, radiologist-in-training, or interested provider, resident, or medical student.