McAfee classification of thoracolumbar spinal fractures

McAfee classification of acute traumatic spinal injuries is based on the three column concept of the spine. CT is needed for accurate assessment.

Classification

  • wedge compression: isolated anterior column compression 
  • stable burst: anterior and middle column compression but posterior column is normal
  • unstable burst: anterior and middle column compression with disrupted posterior column
  • flexion-distraction 
    • anterior column compression
    • middle and posterior column: tensile failure
    • axis of flexion: posterior to anterior longitudinal ligament
  • chance fractures
    • pure bony injuries that extend all the way through the spinal column: from posterior to anterior through the spinous process, pedicles, and vertebral body, respectively
    • axis of flexion: anterior to anterior longitudinal ligament
  • translational fractures
    • shear force to all the 3 columns
Fractures
Share article

Article information

rID: 15489
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Thoraco-lumbar spinal fractures: McAfee classification

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Cases and figures

  • Drag
    Case 1: stable burst fracture
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Case 2: unstable burst fracture
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Case 3: unstable burst fracture : MRI
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Case 4: flexion-distraction injury
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Case 5: translational shear injury
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Case 6: wedge compression fracture
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Case 7: wedge compression fracture
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Updating… Please wait.
    Loadinganimation

    Alert accept

    Error Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

    Alert accept Thank you for updating your details.