Segmental Fracture of the Lumbar Spine Academic Article uri icon


  • STUDY DESIGN: A case report is presented. OBJECTIVE: To describe a rare, previously undescribed pattern of spinal injury. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: This seems to be a unique injury with no previously described injuries matching the fracture pattern observed. METHODS: This is a case report based on the experience of the authors. The discussion includes a short literature review based on pubmed searches. RESULTS: We report the case of a 26-year-old female cyclist involved in a road traffic accident with a truck resulting in complete disruption of the lumbar spine. The cyclist was caught on the inside of a truck turning left and seems to have passed under the rear wheels. She was brought to the local emergency department where, after appropriate resuscitation, trauma survey revealed spinal deformity with complete neurologic deficit below T12 and fractured pubic rami, soft tissue injuries to the perineum and multiple abrasions. Plain radiology showed a segmental fracture dislocation of her lumbar vertebrae, extending from the L1 superior endplate through to L4-L5 disc space. The entire segment was displaced in both anteroposterior and lateral planes. Computed tomography confirmed these injuries and ruled out significant visceral injury. She was transferred to the national spinal unit (author unit), where she underwent reduction and fixation with rods and screws from T9-S1, using one cross-link. After her immediate postoperative recovery, she was referred to the national rehabilitation unit. CONCLUSION: Although so-called "en bloc" lumbar fractures have been previously described, the authors were unable to find any injury of this degree in the literature. This rare injury seems to show a pattern of spinal injury previously undescribed.


  • OʼhEireamhoin, Sven
  • Devitt, Brian
  • Baker, Joseph
  • Kiely, Paul
  • Synnott, Keith

publication date

  • October 2010

published in