[Management of injuries of the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae in children]

Orthopade. 1999 May;28(5):441-50.
[Article in German]


Traumatic injuries of the thoracic and lumbar spine are rare in children and differ in pathomorphology, healing process and prognosis from those in adults. Before growth arrest the vertebral epiphysis has an important role in pathomorphology and prognosis; therefore, treatment should recognize the age-dependent potential for growth and remodelling. This study demonstrates the different anatomic and pathomorphologic characteristics of traumatic spinal injuries in 40 children. Additionally, prognosis and the various forms of treatment are discussed in the context of the recent literature. In total we observed 85% compression-type injuries and 15% distraction- and rotation-type injuries. Vertebral body fractures were treated conservatively and segmental disruptions by fusion. Long-term follow-up was performed on average 8 years after the accident in 26 patients clinically and in 21 patients radiologically. Most patients had no physical complaints or clinical symptoms. Additionally, the radiographs did not demonstrate any post-traumatic defects. In summary, spinal injuries up to the age of 12 without initial neurologic symptoms have a favorable prognosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Bone Plates
  • Bone Screws
  • Child
  • Female
  • Growth
  • Humans
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / injuries*
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / surgery
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Radiography
  • Spinal Injuries / classification*
  • Spinal Injuries / diagnostic imaging
  • Spinal Injuries / surgery
  • Thoracic Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging
  • Thoracic Vertebrae / injuries*
  • Thoracic Vertebrae / surgery