Wedge fracture

Wedge fractures are hyperflexion injuries to the vertebral body resulting from axial loading. Most commonly affecting the anterior aspect, wedge fractures are considered a single-column (i.e. stable) fracture. 

Less commonly wedge fractures refer to a subtype of tibial plateau fractures. This article addresses vertebral body wedge fractures. 

Most common type (~50%) of thoracolumbar spine fractures 4

Typically it is an osteoporotic compression fracture but can also be a pathological fracture or secondary to trauma 2

They are characterised on radiographs, CT and MRI by cortical disruption and impaction of the antero-superior endplate, while the antero-inferior endplate and posterior vertebral body remains unaffected, resulting in a "wedged" appearance to the vertebral body 3,4

  • burst fracture: fracture of anterior and posterior vertebral body (i.e. two-column injury) 4
  • may be associated with posterior ligamentous injury (and thus potentially an unstable injury), this should always be assessed for

Share article

Article Information

rID: 35522
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Wedge fractures
  • Vertebral body wedge fractures
  • Wedge compression fractures
  • Vertebral body wedge fracture
  • Wedge compression fracture

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Cases and Figures

  • Drag
    Figure 1: acute vs old
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Case 1
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Case 2
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Case 3
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Case 4: multiple fractures
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Updating… Please wait.

    Alert accept

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

    Alert accept Thank you for updating your details.