I WAS INVOLVED IN A TRAFFIC ACCIDENT,MY CAR WENT UNDERNEATH THE SIDE OF A 18-WHEELER. I BENT DOWN IN A FORWARD POSITION WITH MY HANDS AND ARMS AROUND MY HEAD. THE ROOF OF MY CAR WAS COMPLETELY DEMOLISHED. THE CAR WAS A TOTAL LOSS. I WENT TO THE DOCTOR, X-RAYS WERE TAKEN AND I WAS DIAGNOSED AS HAVING AN ANTERIOR WEDGE COMPRESSION FRACTURE AT T6. THIS HAPPENED 2 MONTHS AGO. I AM STILL HAVING SPORADIC PAINS IN THE RIGHT SIDE OF MY TRUNK AREA. MY QUESTION IS, WILL THE WEDGE SHAPE RETURN TO ITS ORIGINAL CONDITION?
Good question. Compression fractures are common in this type of motor vehicle accident. The vertebral body gets compressed from severe flexion of the spine at that level. There is shortening of the height of the body of the vertebrae at that level and often an anterior angulation, or kyphosis, of the spine at that level.
Most patients with compression fractures of the thoracic spine may be managed conservatively and do quite well. There are two issues that concern a spine surgeon when evaluating such injuries. The first is stability of the spine and the second is whether there is any injury or compression on the neural elements at that level. When there is instability of the spine or a deficit, then surgery may be considered.
Speak to your surgeon about these matters. Most patients do not need surgery but the 'wedge' in the vertebral body will remain.
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