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Transverse process fracture

Dr Henry Knipe et al.

Transverse process fractures are a common sequelae of trauma, although they are considered a minor and stable lumbar spine fracture. There is strong association between transverse process fractures and other traumatic injuries.

Transverse process fracture most commonly occur in the upper lumbar spine and are commonly multiple 2. The fracture line can extend into the transverse foramen, and in the cervical spine there is a risk of complicating vertebral artery dissection.

Although a minor injury to the lumbar spine, transverse process fractures require major force:

CT is the modality of choice. Up to 60% of lumbar transverse process fractures identified on CT will be missed on plain radiographs 1.

In the lumbar region, consider anatomical variants such as:

  • hypoplastic 12th rib
  • non-fused lumbar transverse process ossification centers
Spinal trauma
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Article information

rID: 35371
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Transverse process fractures

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1
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  • Case 2
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  • Case 3
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  • Case 4: with Malgaigne fracture
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