JOHN T. ALESI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOHN T. ALESI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Compression fracture of thoracic vertebra. Labelled artworks and corresponding X-rays showing the effects of a compression fracture of the twelfth thoracic vertebra (T12). These are lateral (side) views, with the rear of the spine at right in each view. At left, the initial trauma caused 50-70 per cent loss of the anterior height and 20 per cent of the posterior height. In addition, a posterior fragment protruded one-third of the way into the canal occupied by the spinal cord (yellow). At right, the changes have led to narrowing of the T11-T12 disc space, the formation of a callus, and a bulge compressing the spinal cord. This may require surgery to correct.
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