Purpose: Fractures of the thoracolumbar spine account for up to 90% of spinal fractures, and are associated with significant disability. The advantage of acquiring dedicated spine CT imaging in addition to visceral CT studies of the chest, abdomen and pelvis for detection of spinal fractures has not been definitively established. This retrospective study seeks to determine the contribution of dedicated spine CT in the acute clinical setting. Methods: Patients who were diagnosed with fractures of the thoracic or lumbar spine at our institution between January 1, 2010 and June 30, 2014 were identified. Additional inclusion criteria included having a CT of the chest and/or abdomen and pelvis followed by a dedicated thoracic or lumbar spine CT within 30 days. Reports were reviewed for accuracy of fracture detection, and missed fractures were retrospectively analyzed on images for detectability. Results: A total of 102 patients met our inclusion criteria for a total of 312 fractures. Of the 312 fractures, 31 (10%) were missed on the initial visceral CT in 18 of the 102 patients. In all but two cases, at least one fracture was identified on the visceral spine CT. There were no cases in which the newly identified fractures changed patient management. Conclusion: All fractures requiring surgical intervention were identified on the visceral CT. A dedicated spine CT does detect additional spine fractures but does not clearly alter patient management.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging