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Thoracolumbar Spine Trauma in Children Homepage

This page was last updated on May 8th, 2019


Christopher M. Bonfield, M.D.

Section Editors

Douglas L. Brockmeyer, M.D.

Dominic Thompson, M.D.

Editor in Chief

Rick Abbott, M.D.


Thoracolumbar spine trauma in children can be a significant management challenge. Ongoing spinal growth can create substantial morbidity and mortality in many cases. Furthermore, pediatric patients have greater ligamentous flexibility and elasticity as well as relative paraspinal bone and muscle immaturity than their adult counterparts, making individualized treatment decisions very important. The presentation of thoracolumbar spine trauma is diverse, and a variety of treatment options exist. Therefore, pediatric spine surgeons must be well-versed in appropriate evaluation and management skills.

Key points

  • Rare injuries: Pediatric thoracolumbar injuries are rare injuries but can lead to substantial morbidity and mortality.
  • Different from adults: Anatomical differences between children and adults must be considered, such as increased ligamentous laxity and immature bony structures.
  • Diagnose early: Early diagnosis and long-term follow-up are necessary for treatment in this population.
  • Conservative management typical: Most patients can be managed conservatively without surgical treatment.

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