A modeling capacity of vertebral fractures exists during growth - an up to 47-year follow-up

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Study Design. The study is an observational cohort study. Objectives. To determine the incidence and the long-term outcome of thoracic or lumbar vertebral fractures in children. Summary of Background Data. The incidence of vertebral fractures in children is described as rare and the outcome as favorable. However, no studies evaluate the clinical and radiographic long-term outcome and if a fractured vertebra could be rebuilt during growth. Method. The incidence of vertebral fractures in children was evaluated through the radiographic archives. Twelve boys and 12 girls, aged 7-16 when sustaining the fracture, 21 one-column compression fractures and 3 burst fractures Denis type B, all without neurologic deficits, attended the follow-up. Primary treatment consisted of immediate mobilization without brace. Clinical and radiographic examination were performed 27-47 years after the injury. Results. The annual incidence of thoracic and lumbar vertebral body fractures in individuals below age 16 was 0.07%. Twenty-one individuals had, at follow-up. no subjective complaints, 3 had occasional back pain (Oswestry Scores, 8, 22, and 26), 23 were classified as Frankel E, and 1 as Frankel D. The radiographic ratio anterior height/posterior height of the fractured vertebral body increased from 0.75 after injury to 0.87 at follow-up (P<0.001). The posttraumatic kyphosis in the fracture region decreased in 8 individuals (33%), all aged 13 or less at fracture. No increased disc degeneration was observed. Conclusion. Thoracolumbar vertebral fractures without neurologic deficits, sustained during growth, have a favorable long-term outcome. A modeling capacity, reducing the fracture deformity exists at least in the youngest patients.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Surgery
  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging
  • Orthopedics


  • children, fractures, long-term, lumbar, modeling, natural history, thoracic, nonsurgical treatment
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2087-2092
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Medical Radiology Unit (013241410), Clinical and Molecular Osteoporosis Research Unit (013242930), Reconstructive Surgery (013240300), Preventive Paediatrics (013243030)