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16 April 2019 : Clinical Research  

3D Computed Tomography Mapping of Thoracolumbar Vertebrae Fractures

Qihang Su1ACE, Yan Zhang1BE, Shenghui Liao2BD, Meijun Yan1C, Kai Zhu1D, Shuaifeng Yan1F, Cong Li3AE*, Jun Tan1AEG

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.915916

Med Sci Monit 2019; 25:2802-2810


BACKGROUND: Fractures of the thoracolumbar (TL) spine represent 90% of all spinal fractures, followed by cervical and lumbar spine fractures. This study aimed to create fracture maps of the traumatic thoracolumbar (TL) fracture vertebral body (T12-L2) through the use of CT mapping as a big data visualization method to reveal recurrent patterns and characteristics of traumatic TL fractures.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: A consecutive series of 174 fractured vertebrae (T12–L2) was used to create three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction images, which were superimposed and oriented to fit a model vertebral template by aligning specific bio-landmarks and reducing reconstructed fracture fragments. Fracture lines were found and traced to create a fracture map of the vertebral body.

RESULTS: Our study consisted of 165 patients with an average age of 47 years. A total of 174 fractured vertebrae were collected, consisting of 59 T12 vertebral fractures, 60 L1 vertebral fractures, and 55 L2 vertebral fractures. Two-dimensional (2D) maps, 3D maps, and heat maps showed that the fracture lines tended to be concentrated in the upper third and anterior third of the vertebral body, as well as being distributed in annular wedges along the anterior and lateral sides of the vertebral body. When compared with T12, the distribution of fracture lines in L1 and especially in L2 was more scattered and disorganized.

CONCLUSIONS: Fracture maps revealed recurrent patterns and characteristics of the traumatic TL fracture vertebral body, which improves understanding of TL fractures, as well as helping to increase opportunities for follow-up research and aid clinical decision-making.

Keywords: Imaging, Three-Dimensional, Maps, Spinal Fractures, Tomography Scanners, X-Ray Computed, Big Data, Fracture Fixation, Internal, Fractures, Compression, Lumbar Vertebrae, Middle Aged, Thoracic Vertebrae, Tomography, X-Ray Computed

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Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750
Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750