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Radiologia Brasileira

Print version ISSN 0100-3984

Abstract

JACOB JUNIOR, Chárbel et al. Thoracolumbar burst fracture: what the radiologist should know. Radiol Bras [online]. 2012, vol.45, n.2, pp. 101-104. ISSN 0100-3984.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-39842012000200008.

Thoracolumbar burst fractures are defined as those fractures involving compromise of the anterior, middle and posterior vertebral columns. The treatment for such vertebral fractures still remains undefined, raising questions about the best form of intervention in these cases. Because of these doubts, imaging methods play a key role in the preoperative workup. However, several tests and measurements are performed by spine surgeons before deciding on the best approach to be adopted, with no standardization and neither consensus. The present review was aimed at standardizing and describing the main techniques and radiological findings on the basis of instability criteria adopted by surgeons in the assessment of thoracolumbar burst fractures, namely extent of height loss of the anterior wall of the fractured vertebra, level of spinal canal compromise by bone fragments and degree of widening of interspinous and interpedicular distance. It is the authors' opinion that the standardization of the main measurements in the evaluation of thoracolumbar burst fractures by radiological methods will provide the information required for a better interpretation of tests results and consequently aiding in the decision making about the most appropriate treatment.

Keywords : Radiology; Fracture; Spine.

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