What is a Sacral Fracture?

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What is a Sacral Fracture?

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer. The spine runs the full length of the back, starting from the brain stem and running all the way down to the tailbone. The bottom of this area of the spine is called the sacrum and can be fractured like any other bone in the body.

What is a Sacral Fracture?

The sacrum is at the bottom of the spine and represents the terminal vertebrae of the back. The sacrum is shaped differently from the other vertebrae yet is still prone to traumatic injuries just like the other bones. A bone fracture in the sacrum is termed a sacral fracture and can be quite serious.

Mechanism of Injury

A sacral fracture results from a tremendous amount of force being applied to that area of the body. It is often seen in combination with pelvic fractures, such as those acquired in an auto accident, or from falls from a great height with a direct impact to the sacrum itself. It is also seen in pedestrian injuries involving auto vs. pedestrian or auto vs. bicycle events.

Treatment of a Sacral Fracture

A sacral fracture must be properly diagnosed before it can be treated. Like other fractures, it requires a combination of imaging procedures, such as x-rays or CT scans, and a clinical history. Once it has been diagnosed, the fracture will be immobilized using a variety of methods depending on the severity of the fracture. Care must also be taken to ensure that no peripheral nerves have been injured.

Possible Complications

Because the sacrum represents the terminal end of the vertebrae, there are still important nerves exiting the spinal cord at this location. Care must be taken to ensure that these aren’t injured. Damage to these nerves can result in serious comorbidities, including chronic pain due to damage to the nerves exiting the spinal cord at the level of the sacrum.

Structures at Risk

The nerves in the spinal cord are the most important structures at risk. The nerves termed L5 and S1-S5 exit at or near the sacrum and control the tone of the body’s genital and anal region. Damage to these nerves can impair sensory and motor function in this area of the body, leading to significant quality of life issues.

Differential Diagnosis

A sacral fracture is associated with a variety of differential diagnoses, including

Injury Prognosis

While bone fractures themselves typically heal within a few weeks, the true prognosis is going to hinge on whether or not there is any nerve damage or other associated fractures that could require a longer recovery time. This will be assessed on a case by case basis.

Surgery is Possible

The imaging studies will reveal whether or not the fractures are displaced. If they have been displaced, the patient could require an operative fixation in a surgical setting.

Contact a Compassionate Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer. Those who have sustained an injury to their sacrum should give me a call today at (916) 921-6400 for friendly, free advice. I also maintain a toll-free option for those reaching out from beyond Sacramento, which is (800) 404-5400.

I am a proud part of the California region’s Million Dollar Advocates Forum. This is a select group of attorneys that have been named on this lists as top trial lawyers in the country. The members of our group have all attained verdicts or settled cases in excess of $1 Million dollars.

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Image Attribution: Found on Wikimedia Commons and used under the GNU Free Documentation License

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