Fracture Dislocation of Vertebrae
What is a Fracture Dislocation of the Vertebrae?
The spine is made up of numerous vertebra. These vertebrae sway back and forth, extend, flex, and bend to give people some mobility in their back. Sometimes, these vertebrae can experience trauma that both fractures and dislocates one or more of the vertebra, moving them out of alignment with the rest of the spine. These bone fractures are traumatic injuries which can potentially lead to the loss of motor and sensory functions.
Mechanism of Injury
The vast majority of dislocations result from motor vehicle accidents, such as auto accidents, or pedestrian accidents, and slip and fall situations. When the spine is exposed to sudden changes in momentum or direction, it has a potential to throw a vertebra of the spine out of position, possibly fracturing them in the process. Other possible causes include physical assault and sports-related injuries.
Treatment for a Spine Fracture Dislocation
The first step is to immobilize the neck to prevent any further injury. Then, imaging will be next. This allows physicians to get a better look at what is going on underneath the surface. Once the injury has been diagnosed, the physician will have to decide whether or not the vertebrae can be put back into place using a closed reduction. The doctors will also have to monitor a patient for any further complications that can arise from trauma to the peripheral nerves.
A fracture dislocation of the spine has a potential to cause several different comorbidities, such as a decrease in the range of motion of the neck, loss of motor function, and chronic pain. If the cord has been damaged, there are additional complications that could develop as well.
Structures at Risk
As mentioned above, the spinal cord is the most important structure that could be at risk with a fracture dislocation of a vertebra. If the vertebrae move too far out of position, the spinal cord could be damaged or severed, leading to a significant loss of motor and sensory function depending on the level.
The differential diagnosis for a fracture dislocation of a vertebra is wide and includes:
- Herniated disc
- Thoracic vertebra fracture
- Cervical spine fracture
- Lumbar fracture
- Burst fracture
- Sacral fracture
The prognosis is going to hinge on where in the spine a fracture dislocation is located and to what extent the dislocation has slid. The higher up the dislocation and the more out of place the vertebrae are, the more serious the injury.
Surgery is Possible
In the event that a dislocation is unable to be repaired using a closed reduction or that a fracture does not heal properly the first time, surgery can be used to permanently fix the injury. It is preferable to avoid surgery unless absolutely necessary due to the proximity to the spinal cord.
Contact a Compassionate Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer
I’m Edward Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer. If you or a person you care about has suffered a fracture dislocation of a vertebra, please give my office a call at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice.
I am a member in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum of California state. We represent trial lawyers who have won verdicts and negotiated settlements worth over $1 Million dollars.
As a Sacramento personal injury lawyer, I’ve obtained the following verdicts and settlements.
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