Dislocation of Vertebra
What is a Dislocation of the Vertebra?
There are many different vertebrae that make up the spine, ranging from the neck all the way down to the hips. These vertebrae enclose spinal nerves that power the movements and sensory abilities of the body. It is important for these vertebrae to maintain a proper alignment in order to provide the flexibility that is necessary for proper function. Sometimes, these vertebrae can get fractured or dislocated. Depending on the level of the spine of the dislocation, these spinal cord injuries could be serious and require immediate medical attention. The injury will be examined
magnetic resonance imaging mri to see the severity of the medical condition.
Mechanism of Spine Injury
A significant number of vertebral dislocations occur through truck accidents, auto accidents, or pedestrian injuries. Slip and fall injuries are a common occurrence that leads to dislocation of the vertebrae. Other possible mechanisms include traumatic sports injuries or criminal activity, such as a physical assault.
Treatment of a Fracture Dislocation of the Spine
Whenever there is a possibility for damage to the vertebrae of the spine, the person’s neck and back must be immobilized using a brace. This will prevent movement that could potentially damage the patient further. After this, imaging will be performed to take a look at just how far out of alignment the vertebrae are. Finally, the vertebrae will be put back into place through a closed reduction. If there are neurological symptoms, such as damage to peripheral nerves, this could change the treatment approach.
A dislocation of the vertebrae is a serious injury and could lead to several complications and comorbidities. Examples of possible complications include a loss of motor or sensory function, the potential for a decrease in spinal flexibility, and even chronic pain.
Structures in Play
Whenever the spinal cord is in play, this is going to be the most important structure in the discussion. The spinal cord powers the motor and sensory functions of the body, which could lead to paralysis if the cord is severed in a spinal dislocation.
A dislocated vertebra has a large number of other diagnoses that are possible. These include:
- Slipped or Herniated disc
- Thoracic vertebra fracture
- Cervical spine fracture
- Compression fracture
- Burst fracture
- Lumbar fracture
The prognosis is going to be evaluated with a degree of dislocation in mind. The farther the dislocation, the more potential for damage to the spinal cord, and the greater the chance of a chronic injury developing.
Surgery is Possible
Surgery is only considered if the dislocation cannot be fixed through a closed reduction. If this is the case, surgery could be necessary to place the vertebrae back into proper alignment. This is not the first choice given the risk of injury to the spinal cord.
Contact a Passionate Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer. If you or a loved one has dislocated one or more of the vertebrae in your back in a motor vehicle accident, please call me for free, friendly advice at (916) 921-6400 or toll free at (800) 404-5400.
I have been welcomed into the Million Dollar Advocates Forum of the California area. This is a collection of attorneys who have been ranked with some of the top trial lawyers in the whole country. The various attorneys in our group have both won verdicts and agreed to settlements valued at $1 Million dollars or more.
A significant number of my earlier verdicts and settlements can be read here.
Photograph (top): permission granted to reprint this image under the Creative Commons 3.0 Unported Share-Alike license
Photograph (final): Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Edward A Smith
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