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Lumbosacral Spine Acute Bony Injuries Follow-up

  • Author: Federico C Vinas, MD; Chief Editor: Sherwin SW Ho, MD  more...
 
Updated: Sep 30, 2013
 

Return to Play

Most athletes who experience lumbosacral spine fractures are involved in violent sports or sports that require heavy physical activity or carry a significant risk for recurrence of the injury. Although the decision on when to return to play should be made on a case-by-case basis, many patients with minor spinal injuries, such as an isolated fracture of the transverse or spinous process, may be able to return to play after the injuries have healed (4-8 wk); however, patients who have vertebral body fractures may require a longer time for the fracture to heal. The time frame depends specifically on the characteristics of the fracture and the specific sport. In some cases, patients who require a major surgical intervention with a spinal fusion and instrumental fixation may not able to return to participate in that specific sport.

Related Medscape Reference topics:

Degenerative Lumbar Disc Disease in the Mature Athlete

Lumbar Disk Problems in the Athlete

Related Medscape resources:

Resource Center Exercise and Sports Medicine

Resource Center Spinal Disorders

Specialty Site Orthopaedics

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Prognosis

The prognosis of a patient who sustained a sport-related acute fracture of the lumbar spine depends on numerous factors, including the characteristics of the fracture, severity of the associated neurologic deficits, associated injuries, and the patient's compliance after the discharge.[48, 49] For example, patients who routinely smoke cigarettes have delayed bone healing and a higher risk of developing a pseudoarthrosis. Other patients may injure themselves in their eagerness to return promptly to physical activity or contact sports.

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Contributor Information and Disclosures
Author

Federico C Vinas, MD Consulting Neurosurgeon, Department of Neurological Surgery, Halifax Medical Center

Federico C Vinas, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Association of Neurological Surgeons, American College of Surgeons, American Medical Association, Florida Medical Association, North American Spine Society, Congress of Neurological Surgeons

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

Henry T Goitz, MD Academic Chair and Associate Director, Detroit Medical Center Sports Medicine Institute; Director, Education, Research, and Injury Prevention Center; Co-Director, Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Fellowship

Henry T Goitz, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Sherwin SW Ho, MD Associate Professor, Department of Surgery, Section of Orthopedic Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Chicago Division of the Biological Sciences, The Pritzker School of Medicine

Sherwin SW Ho, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Arthroscopy Association of North America, Herodicus Society, American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine

Disclosure: Received consulting fee from Biomet, Inc. for speaking and teaching; Received grant/research funds from Smith and Nephew for fellowship funding; Received grant/research funds from DJ Ortho for course funding; Received grant/research funds from Athletico Physical Therapy for course, research funding; Received royalty from Biomet, Inc. for consulting.

Additional Contributors

Andrew D Perron, MD Residency Director, Department of Emergency Medicine, Maine Medical Center

Andrew D Perron, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Emergency Physicians, American College of Sports Medicine, Society for Academic Emergency Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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Lateral plain radiograph. This image shows an L3 compression fracture.
A computed tomography scan with sagittal reconstructions allows better visualization of the compression fracture.
Sagittal T1-weighted magnetic resonance imaging study of a professional driver who was in a rollover motor vehicle accident while racing his car. This figure shows a T-10 unstable burst fracture producing severe kyphotic deformity of the spine. The abnormal signal on the vertebral body and the extradural defect represents a subacute hematoma producing spinal cord compression. The patient had severe paraparesis and underwent an emergency operation. The procedure involved an anterolateral retroperitoneal approach with a corpectomy and vertebral reconstruction.
Postoperative plain x-ray film of a professional driver who experienced a burst fracture in a rollover motor vehicle accident while racing his car. This image shows a vertebral reconstruction with the use of a titanium cage filled with bone and the arthrodesis with a Z plate.
Axial computed tomography scan of an athlete who had a hyperextension injury that resulted in disruption of the posterior spinal elements. This patient had compromise of the anterior and middle spinal columns, resulting in an unstable fracture.
Computed tomography scanning with 3-dimensional reconstruction facilitates the assessment of some complex fractures. In this case, the patient experienced a severe compression fracture.
Sagittal computed tomography scan reconstruction of an athlete who had a burst fracture.
Computed tomography scan with coronal reconstruction of an athlete who had multiple compression fractures.
Magnetic resonance image of a young female with a severe unstable fracture of L4. The patient had a partial neurologic deficit and required urgent surgical fixation.
Postoperative radiograph of a patient status post reduction, fusion, and internal fixation of an unstable fracture. Note that the anatomic alignment has been restored.
Sagittal computed tomography scan reconstruction of a young female who had a skydiving accident. The parachute deployed, but the patient landed on concrete and sustained a lower-extremity fracture and a fracture of L1. She was neurologically intact but required an open reduction with a fusion and instrumental fixation of the fracture.
 
 
 
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