http://upload.orthobullets.com/topic/2023/images/lateral xray_moved.jpg
http://upload.orthobullets.com/topic/2023/images/AP xray_moved.jpg
  • Mechanism
    • a flexion-distraction injury (seatbelt injury)
      • may be a bony injury
      • may be ligamentous injury (flexion-distraction injury)
        • more difficult to heal
      • middle and posterior columns fail under tension 
      • anterior column fails under compression 
  • Associated injuries 
    • high rate of gastrointestinal injuries (50%)
  • Radiographs
    • obtain AP and lateral   
    • flexion-extension radiographs
  • MRI
    • important to evaluate for injury to the posterior elements
  • CT
    • important to evaluate degree of bone injury and retropulsion of posterior wall into canal
  • Nonoperative
    • immobilization in cast or TLSO
      • indications
        • neurologically intact patients with
          • stable injury patterns with intact posterior elements
          • bony Chance fracture
      • technique
        • may cast or brace (TLSO) in extension
        • must be followed for non-union and kyphotic deformity
  • Operative
    • surgical decompression and stabilization
      • indications
        • patients with neurologic deficits
        • unstable spine with injury to the posterior ligaments (soft-tissue Chance fx)
      • techniques
        • anterior decompression and stabilization
          • usually with vertebrectomy and strut grafting followed by instrumentation
        • posterior indirect decompression and stabilization and compression fusion construct
          • historically three levels above and two levels below
          • modern pedicle screws have changed this to one level above and one level below
          • distraction construct in burst fractures
          • compression construct in Chance fractures
  • Pain
    • most common
  • Deformity
    • scoliosis
    • progressive kyphosis
      • common with unrecognized injury to PLL
    • flat back
      • leads to pain, a forward flexed posture, and easy fatigue
    • post-traumatic syringomyelia
  • Nonunion

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