Burst fracture

Case contributed by Ian Bickle


History of fall from ladder, height of approximately 15-20 meters. Landed on foot and fallen backward. Tenderness over the lumbar spine.

Patient Data

Age: 20 years
Gender: Male

Acute burst fracture of L1 with 6 mm of bony retropulsion. This abuts the anterior aspect of the conus which lies at L1 with no CSF anterior to the conus, however, CSF is apparent posterolaterally in the thecal sac.

No high signal within the cord to suggest cord edema.

No abnormality at any other level.


L1 burst fracture with retropulsion. The retropulsed bone contacts the conus but does not overtly compress it.


Follow-up in external binder.

Case Discussion

Typical appearances and 3 modality appearances of a burst fracture.

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