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Specialists in Surgical Spine Care

Thoracic Ligament Tear

This 16 year old boy suffered a broken spine about two to two and a half years ago. He has been continuously complaining of back pain that has been relatively ignored by two other spine specialists. He has received physical therapy and bracing without much help. The pain became so severe, that he had to be home schooled due to the severe pain with sitting long term.

Now three months after surgery, his is back to school, pain free, and is living a normal life again.

Initial injury MRI was not too revealing for a ligament disruption, but you can appreciate a small break in his bone in front of the lower arrow.

Repeat MRI two years later showing attenuation or thinning of the ligament in question. Also, you can see that in 2010 his spine was relatively straight, now, he started to bend forward.

After extensive workup, he had a "Chance Fracture." This is a broken bone associated with a torn ligament his back. These ligaments, unfortunately, do not heal, even with bracing. Most Chance Fracture's require surgery, and this case, although, not diagnosed for two years, is no different.

In the operating room, you can appreciate a missing ligament and the site of disruption.

He underwent posterior stabilization. Now three months after surgery, he is back to school, pain free, and is living a normal life again.